Help needy patients fulfil their simple wishes

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong (centre) with programme beneficiaries Maszliana Sidek and Low Chin Hee at CGH.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong (centre) with programme beneficiaries Maszliana Sidek and Low Chin Hee at CGH.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

What they want runs the gamut from diapers and milk to a 32-inch flatscreen digital television and even hair rebonding.

While some of these might sound frivolous, the Eastern Health Alliance (EHA) aims to fulfil the wishes of its needy patients as this will go a long way to improving their quality of life.

"Our beneficiaries' wishes aren't luxurious items," said Mr T.K. Udairam, chief executive officer of EHA, which includes Changi General Hospital (CGH) and the Salvation Army's Peacehaven Nursing Home.

The items are among the things wished for by the more than 70 people who have hung their wishes on EHA's wishing tree placed in the central atrium of CGH.

The TV, for example, is Mr Low Chin Hee's window to the world. The 64-year-old, who lives alone, is not able to work and spends most of his time at home because his muscle and nerves have degenerated. A TV will not only provide him with entertainment, but also keep him informed of what is happening in the country and around the world.

Miss Maszliana Sidek, 31, weighed 210kg before going for bariatric surgery to reduce her weight last year and has since brought it down to 182kg. Her target is 100 kg and she is exercising regularly to achieve that.

As her weight has gone down, her asthma has improved and she no longer pants after a short walk. She now hopes to find a job and she wants to rebond her hair.

"This will give me more confidence," she said as her hair is very frizzy and she wants it straightened.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday pledged on behalf of WeCare@MarineParade, which he set up last year, to adopt wishes for two people.

He said CGH's HomeCare Assist, which helps discharged patients, is "a very important scheme".

"Often, when patients go home, they get assistance only for medical items. But there are a lot of other things they might need like diapers and milk products," he said.

He said he likes the idea of helping those in need afford these things, and the support will go beyond this one-time adoption of a wish.

Mr Goh, an MP for Marine Parade GRC, added that Marine Parade residents are older than the national average, and hopes to work with EHA in looking after the elderly.

Two former Members of Parliament involved in the setting up of CGH said at yesterday's event that they, too, will each adopt a wish. They are Mr Teo Chong Tee, MP for Changi from 1976 to 1996, and Mr Ng Kah Ting, MP for Punggol from 1963 to 1991.

The EHA hopes to raise about $50,000 to fulfil wishes for about 200 people. Donations made to "Changi Health Fund Ltd" are tax exempt.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2015, with the headline 'Help needy patients fulfil their simple wishes'. Print Edition | Subscribe