Rehab robot of St Luke's Hospital one of winners in patient care awards

SINGAPORE - Rehabilitation robots that help post-stroke patients regain control of their shoulders, arms, hands and fingers were among about 30 projects honoured at the Intermediate and Long-Term Care Excellence Awards on Wednesday (Sept 28).

The robotic project by St Luke's Hospital in Bukit Batok took home the merit prize for helping to speed up the therapy process of patients.

Mr Gribson Chan, the deputy director of the hospital's rehabilitation services division, said: "With the robotic automation, we see 20 per cent more improvements in the upper limb functions of patients than those who undergo conventional treatment. We can also serve 20 per cent more patients."

Mr Chan said the four robots, which were introduced to the hospital in January last year (2015)

were funded by the Agency for Integrated Care's (AIC) Healthcare Productivity Fund.

The biennial awards which was introduced by AIC in 2014, recognises community care healthcare professionals and organisations for their work in delivering quality care and service to their clients.

There were six broad award categories - three for outstanding staff members, and three for teams that implemented outstanding projects in the areas of service quality, improvement in productivity and innovation, among others.

More than 200 recipients from 23 organisations received awards. They included clinical professionals and administrators to care staff and home care providers.

Other award winners included Orange Valley Nursing Home at Sims Avenue which recreated a kampung-style garden area within the home so the five senses of residents could be engaged. The Home was given a merit under the Productivity and Innovation Award.

Meanwhile, Touch Seniors Activity Centre, won gold for improving its service quality. It recruited its more able senior clients as volunteers to befriend and support frail and homebound seniors in the community.

Senior Minister of State for Health and the Environment and Water Resources Dr Amy Khor who officiated the event, said the focus will continue to be on improving quality as services are ramped up to meet the needs of Singapore's ageing population.

She said: "Patients' expectations of care are increasingly rising... We are growing capacity across home, centre-based and nursing home care to ensure our seniors can access care when they require it. We need to ensure that existing and new services are delivered with a high quality of care."

She highlighted several ways in which the Government has been encouraging and helping to encourage more quality community care.

For instance, the Government is in the process of awarding about $8 million in funding to innovative projects under its Care-at-Home Innovation Grant.

The grant falls under the $200 million that has been set aside for the National Innovation Challenge on Active and Confident Ageing. More details on the grant will be released later this year.

Dr Khor added that the Government has several other initiatives that both support and fund projects dedicated to improving community care.

Financial support for the sector is also available through its Healthcare Productivity Fund which supports initiatives to adopt technology and conduct training and skills upgrading, among other things.

She said that the Ministry of Health has also developed and released guidelines for home care and centre-based care last year (2015), in consultation with the industry.

melodyz@sph.com.sg