New community-based system to support elderly patients in Whampoa

SINGAPORE - A new community-based system to track and support elderly patients will be officially launched in Whampoa on Saturday.

The Government has pumped $4 million into the project, with the non-profit Tsao Foundation contributing another $1 million.

The Community for Successful Ageing (ComSA) is an initiative by Tsao Foundation that will identify high-risk elderly residents in the community who need medical care but have financial constraints or a lack of family support.

Patients are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Help can come in the form of medical care, routine house visits or even social integration.

Those with more severe conditions or mobility issues can visit a mobile clinic set up in Whampoa instead of going to a hospital or a polyclinic.

The clinic's family physicians are trained in geriatrics and they will communicate with the patients' hospital specialists when necessary.

In cases where patients need specialist treatment, ComSA staff can organise transport to bring them to the hospital.

Trained volunteers and medical professionals will keep tabs on more severe cases through house visits and phone calls.

In less severe cases, patients are referred to polyclinics or enrolled in a training and peer-support programme for self-care and health education.

The pilot programme, which started in October 2012, has helped 120 elderly residents receive primary health care within their community.

These residents were referred to polyclinics or the ComSA mobile clinic, and volunteers kept tabs on their medical condition. The number of elderly residents helped is projected to increase to 688 by 2017.

Another 600 residents will be enrolled in the peer-support programme by 2017.