SINGAPORE - Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital (KWSH) has rolled out a new facility to boost nursing home care for patients and is tapping robots to enhance staff productivity, as part of efforts to meet the needs of an ageing population.
The 128 new beds will bring the total to 750 at the charity hospital's main site in Serangoon Road. Many of its patients come from lower-income groups and are given heavy subsidies.
The facility was officially opened on Saturday (Nov 20) by Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, the guest of honour.
In his opening address, he said: "These new wards, designed with enhanced capabilities to cater to residents who have long-term complications and greater chronic care needs, will enable the hospital to elevate the level of care for its residents."
The new beds come with specialised equipment offering oxygen ventilation support and wound care to treat more complicated and long-term issues.
Mr Gan said the hospital's plans will go a long way in preparing Singapore for a demographic shift over the next decade. Around a quarter of Singaporeans are expected to be 65 and above in 2030 - up from one in six last year.
A second nursing home in Potong Pasir is due to be completed next year, bringing the total number of beds provided by KWSH to 1,200.
KWSH will also introduce robots to automate food delivery, following an agreement with Singapore Technologies Engineering.
These robots will save 16 man-hours per meal - time that can be dedicated to other services like patient rehabilitation, treatment and support, Mr Gan added.
"Initiatives like these leverage technologies to free up our healthcare professionals' bandwidth and will help us better optimise our resources," he added.
Since October, residents have moved in stages into the wards at the new facility, which is expected to open fully by the second half of 2022.
The official opening coincided with the hospital's 111th anniversary celebration, which was marked with the launch of a commemorative book.
KWSH was founded in 1910 by a group of Cantonese merchants who wanted to provide poor immigrants with free medical services. The book documents major milestones, with a focus on the past 10 years as the hospital expanded into a community healthcare hub.
Today, KWSH has grown into the largest single-site nursing home in Singapore and runs a range of community services, including a rehabilitation centre and home-care services.
In his address to a small audience at KWS Care at St George, one of the hospital's community care centres, KWSH chairman Patrick Lee thanked donors who continued to give support in spite of the economic struggles brought about by the pandemic.
He said: "I thank all volunteers and supporters of the hospital. Your contribution and hard work continue to create a colourful life for the seniors."