Round-the-clock hotline service to give patients a listening ear

Dr Amy Khor chats with Zareena Md Jailani, a Care Line Client Service Associate, during her visit.
Dr Amy Khor chats with Zareena Md Jailani, a Care Line Client Service Associate, during her visit. PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - When Mr Kuok Pau Kwong feels in need of a listening ear, he picks up the phone and dials the number for Care Line.

"If I have a problem, I tell them. I treat them as friends," said Mr Kuok of the hotline service's staff. He recently had to amputate the toes of his right foot after an infection.

Care Line, launched by the Eastern Health Alliance in November last year, aims to make sure its patients are getting all the care they need.

Mr Kuok is one of 200 patients on the pilot scheme. Most are senior citizens who are referred to the scheme because they are frail or live alone, with medical or emotional conditions that they may not be able to cope with on their own.

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While it used to operate during office hours only, it was scaled up to a round-the-clock service in July.

Apart from just waiting for calls, Care Line representatives call senior citizens on a regular basis to remind them of things such as upcoming medical appointments.

Their clients also call in if they are unwell and not sure what to do, or simply because they are lonely and need a listening ear.

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor visited the Care Line office on Monday (July 31) afternoon to see them at work.

One of the team's client service associates is Madam Janet Thng, who joined nine months ago. "It's quite challenging sometimes, because we have clients with emotional issues," she said.