SINGAPORE - Patients at some nursing homes here can soon have better wound treatment, thanks to an initiative by St Luke's Hospital.
On Thursday (Sept 17), the hospital announced that is has received a $1.5 million grant from the Lew Foundation to set up the Lew Foundation Community Wound Hub.
The grant, which will be disbursed over three years, will be used by the hospital to extend its wound care expertise to the community, including staff at nursing homes and caregivers, and fund wound care research.
Annually, about 150,000 patients in Singapore suffer from chronic wounds - defined as wounds that take over a month to heal.
St Luke's Hospital's chief executive, Associate Professor Tan Boon Yeow, said many of the patients are elderly, and their wounds take longer to heal either due to age, poor blood supply or chronic illnesses. Others suffer from pressure injuries like bed sores or skin tears due to prolonged time spent in bed.
The community hospital, located in Bukit Batok, caters mainly to elderly patients.
"Poor wound management can lead to increased physical, psychological, emotional and financial costs," said Ms Yvonne Lau, assistant director of St Luke's community wound centre.
St Luke's new wound hub is an extension of the hospital's community wound centre, which was formalised in 2016. No new physical infrastructure will be built for the hub, which focuses on education and research.
The hospital has improved its wound care competency over the years, and its intermediate wound management course is accredited by the European Wound Management Association. It has also hosted 13 wound care conferences.
Through the grant, St Luke's aims to teach nurses in about 20 nursing homes about wound care techniques and share best practices.
The training will let patients with chronic wounds be better treated on site, rather than be re-admitted to community or acute hospitals if their condition does not improve.
The collaboration with nursing homes will see wound clinicians from St Luke's train staff from nursing homes like St Andrew's Nursing Home (Taman Jurong), whose nurses started receiving on-the-job training from St Luke's staff in June.
Staff from NTUC Health's nursing homes in Geylang East and Chai Chee will also receive training from St Luke's soon.
With the grant, St Luke's will also test new wound treatment products and techniques, potentially allowing patients to receive wound treatment that they would otherwise have to receive at acute hospitals.
Mr Yeo Puay Hin, Lew Foundation's director, said: "We hope that the hub will help reduce the number of amputation cases, and that those with wounds can recover and be discharged earlier, and that they will be free of pain as much as possible.
"We also hope to make life easier for the people who care for them through education and wound care technologies."
Lew Foundation is a charitable foundation that was started in 2015. The foundation, named after its chairman, Mr Lew Chee Beng, supports social and charitable causes.