Neighbours help keep elderly residents from hospitalisation

Madam Khadija Abdul Rahman Ambar (right) gets frequent visits from Ms Nekmah Mahdi (left), a volunteer under the program 'Neighbours for Active Living' and Ms Jennifer Joseph, an officer from Eastern Health Alliance who constantly monitors her health
Madam Khadija Abdul Rahman Ambar (right) gets frequent visits from Ms Nekmah Mahdi (left), a volunteer under the program 'Neighbours for Active Living' and Ms Jennifer Joseph, an officer from Eastern Health Alliance who constantly monitors her health condition at her home, and making sure that her house is clean and well-kept. With a little help from their neighbours, elderly residents in the east of Singapore in a commnity programme have had to be hospitalised less often. -- ST PHOTO: MOHD TAUFIK A KADER

SINGAPORE - With a little help from their neighbours, elderly residents in the east of Singapore in a community programme have had to be hospitalised less often.

And even when they were admitted to hospital, their length of stay has been reduced, on average.

The Neighbours for Active Living programme started in July 2013 and pairs elderly, vulnerable residents with volunteers in their neighbourhood who visit them, remind them of hospital appointments and check to make sure they take their medication on time.

Out of 314 clients who have been in the programme for at least six months, 54 per cent had the number of hospital admissions fall from an average of 1.9 hospital admissions to 1.2.

For those who were hospitalised, their length of stay decreased from 8.4 days on average to 6.4 days after enrolment.

To date, the programme - jointly developed by Eastern Health Alliance and the South East Community Development Council - has 1,400 clients and 150 volunteers.

Mr T. K. Udairam, group chief executive officer of Eastern Health Alliance, attributed the inprovement to patients taking medication on time, going for their doctor appointments and the social factors of the programme.