The Straits Times
Published on Dec 29, 2012

14-month wait needed before elderly father can be diagnosed


MY ELDERLY father became confused and disoriented lately, often losing his way.

We took him to a polyclinic, which referred him to the geriatric department at the Singapore General Hospital.

It was six months before he got to consult a doctor.

The doctor recommended a brain scan and a session with the psychologist.

The brain scan was scheduled with little problem.

However, my father is conversant only in Mandarin and a dialect.

This means he has to wait another eight months before he can be seen by a psychologist as there is a dearth of psychologists who are proficient in Chinese dialects.

This will make it some 14 months before his condition can be diagnosed and treated.

I fear his condition would have worsened by then.

Over at Tan Tock Seng Hospital's geriatric department, the waiting time is just as long.

With a growing ageing population, more needs to be done to meet the health-care needs of seniors.

Margaret Chong (Ms)