Home Nursing Foundation launches first travelling exhibition

Visitors looking at the displays at the Home Nursing Foundation's first-ever travelling exhibition commemorating its past, at the Central Public Library on Thursday, March 5, 2015. The exhibition was done in partnership with the National Library Boar
Visitors looking at the displays at the Home Nursing Foundation's first-ever travelling exhibition commemorating its past, at the Central Public Library on Thursday, March 5, 2015. The exhibition was done in partnership with the National Library Board and its Singapore Memory Project. -- PHOTO: HOME NURSING FOUNDATION 

SINGAPORE - When the Home Nursing Foundation first begun in 1976, its nurses providing midwife services would ride a boat, carrying 19kg of equipment and medical files in their bags, to rural areas such as Pulau Ubin to meet their clients in their homes.

Today, the boats and stacks of medical files have long been replaced by public buses and a tablet, but the memories remain.

On Thursday, the foundation launched its first-ever travelling exhibition commemorating its past at the Central Public Library, in partnership with the National Library Board and its Singapore Memory Project.

The "38 Years of Home Nursing in Singapore" exhibition, which is part of SG50 events, will be held at the Central Public Library for five weeks. It will then move on to Bukit Merah Public Library, Woodlands Regional Library and Marine Parade Public Library, for a month each time.

On top of reaching out to those who require home nursing services, and encouraging young people to join community nursing, the exhibition also aims to chronicle the foundation's history.

The foundation was first formed by the Ministry of Health with a team of 60 nurses to provide home nursing services for the poor, sick and elderly, and attend to midwifery cases in rural areas of Singapore. In 2008, the organisation broke off from the ministry and saw its team of nurses fall to a low of 20.

Since then, it has grown again, with 35 nurses who serve over 5,000 patients, and make about 33,000 home visits a year.

Nurses on home visits also provide social support, referring clients to family service centres and meal delivery programmes if they need it.

"Our nurses take on all the patient's problems when they enter their homes," the foundation's Chief Executive Officer Karen Lee said.

"They cannot just walk away from the patient's problems once they see it."

Yet, for all its heavy emotional and physical demands, the job proved immensely rewarding for retired nurse Tan Peck Geok. She was a nurse for 45 years, and spent half this time as a home nurse with the foundation.

"It's a great achievement to see a patient get better," the 68-year-old said, referring to stroke patients she helped rehabilitate.

"We were there at home to see it."