Healthcare Manpower Plan 2020

'Bid' to care under Match-A-Nurse

Ms Nekmah Mahadi (centre) helps and keeps an eye on her elderly neighbours, Madam Zainab Abdullah (left), 73, and Madam Tan Ah Pong, 88. Ms Nekmah is one of the more than 200 volunteers who have been trained to help out in the Neighbours for Active L
Ms Nekmah Mahadi (centre) helps and keeps an eye on her elderly neighbours, Madam Zainab Abdullah (left), 73, and Madam Tan Ah Pong, 88. Ms Nekmah is one of the more than 200 volunteers who have been trained to help out in the Neighbours for Active Living programme. PHOTO: ST FILE

Nurses at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) can now "bid" to care for a patient at home, in their free time, through a mobile app.

The idea for the Match-A-Nurse pilot is to help link up discharged patients with a nurse living nearby who is both willing and able to provide the services needed, such as wound dressing.

Dr Ang Seng Bin, the head of the service, which has had 119 nurses signing up, said it would "greatly benefit patients who are wheelchair or bed-bound".

It is one of a number of schemes that have been born as Singapore shifts to having patients cared for at home or in the community.

According to the Healthcare Manpower Plan 2020, "patients who have used this application say it gives them comfort that they can receive care from a professional nurse at home and they do not need to go to the hospital frequently".

Charges for Singaporeans start at $13.95.

In outlining the plan, which adds more jobs and facilities to meet the needs of a greying population, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said yesterday that Singapore has to "move the centre of gravity of healthcare delivery from the hospital to the home within the community".

The Eastern Health Alliance helmed by Changi General Hospital has volunteers in its Neighbours for Active Living programme to keep an eye on their neighbours suffering from multiple chronic problems like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Ms Nekmah Mahadi is one of 200 volunteers on this scheme, which was launched in 2014 and now covers 18 neighbourhoods in the east.

"The people I look after closely are between 70 and 90 years old," she said. "Every evening after work, I take them out for a walk, and if they are sick, I take them to the GP (general practitioner)."

Tan Tock Seng Hospital gives discharged patients with complex health problems a contact person to call if they need help. Associate Professor John Abisheganaden, who heads the Transition Care Services initiative, said: "The focus is on the delivery of care to be person- centric, with truly a single point of contact to coordinate, follow-up and review the patient's care plan."

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital's Aged Care Transition team visits discharged patients at home to make sure they are coping well. It also links up patients with community care services, and has worked with the Housing Board to install ramps and grab bars for those who need them in their flats.

Salma Khalik

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2016, with the headline ''Bid' to care under Match-A-Nurse'. Print Edition | Subscribe