Hospital staff visit residents of 'adopted' Bukit Batok rental block

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

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

The staff, including nurses, doctors, medical social workers and dietitians, started visiting the homes of residents of Block 210A in Bukit Batok Street 21 yesterday. 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 the Covid-19 vaccination, regular healthcare screening and even digital literacy.

Dr Quek Lit Sin, chief executive officer of the hospital, said: "Socio-economic 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 the chronic diseases that they have."

The hospital staff will also help them with 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 be tailored for the block and its occupants 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 that was launched in Bukit Batok constituency in 2018.

The hospital said it has helped about 3,000 residents through fairs and talks in community service centres.

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

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

Mr Mok, who has been receiving healthcare tips 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, a schoolbus attendant, 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 encourages residents to join the programmes run by the hospital, said it has also been helping to educate residents in the area about the Covid-19 vaccination.

Noting that the reception to the vaccine has been quite positive, he 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... so that they are able to get vaccinated.

"So far, so good."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 21, 2021, with the headline Hospital staff visit residents of 'adopted' Bukit Batok rental block. Subscribe