Hospital staff visit residents of Bukit Batok rental block to give customised healthcare advice

Staff of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital carrying out a home visit.
Staff of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital carrying out a home visit.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Some 500 residents of a Bukit Batok rental block will soon get customised healthcare advice from the staff of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) who have "adopted" the block.

Hospital staff - including nurses, doctors, medical social workers and dietitians - started carrying out home visits to residents of Block 210A Bukit Batok Street 21 on Saturday (March 20). There are 355 units in the block.

This marks a shift from previous outreach efforts, which were held at centralised locations.

The staff will advise residents on issues such as Covid-19 vaccination, regular healthcare screening and even digital literacy.

Dr Quek Lit Sin, chief executive officer of NTFGH, said: "Socioeconomic factors do play a role in the health of the individual.

"So we are piloting it in these rental flats first with the more vulnerable (residents) to give them the opportunity and empowerment to understand their health situation and their own chronic diseases that they have."

The hospital staff will also assist them in getting financial help for their medical care through grants and other government subsidies.

Staff volunteers are surveying  residents to understand their needs, and a programme will then be tailored to the block's residents after assessing the findings from yesterday’s home visits.

The initiative to adopt a block comes under the hospital's Get Well Live Well programme launched in Bukit Batok SMC in 2018.

NTFGH said on Saturday that it has helped about 3,000 residents so far through fairs and talks in community service centres.

Dr Quek said the aim is to help residents maintain their health and thus avoid going to hospitals.

"By the time they come to the hospital for a medical condition, it is already too late. (Treatment) is more reactive," he said.

"This is about being proactive."

Retired chef Muhammad Eusoff Mok, 78, who lives at a unit in Block 210A with his friend, welcomed the initiative to engage residents in their homes.

Mr Mok, who has been receiving healthcare advice from NTFGH staff after meeting them at prior outreach events, said: "I share the advice I heard with my friends, but they don't take me seriously.

"It will be good if they can hear it from the healthcare professionals."

Another resident, Madam Zaiton Aziz, 58, said: "Now that they go door-to-door... It's easier for us because it's not so easy to go down and ask for help."

Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai, who encouraged residents to join the programmes by NTFGH, said the hospital has also been helping to educate residents in the area about the Covid-19 vaccine.

Staff of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital began visiting the homes of residents of Block 210A in Bukit Batok Street 21 on March 20, 2021. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Noting that the reception to the vaccine has been quite positive, Mr Murali added: "I have had a number of occasions where doctors have advised our residents not to take the vaccination because of some prevailing medical conditions, and they want to have a second opinion on this so that they are able to get vaccinated.

"So far, so good."