SINGAPORE - Patients with multiple chronic conditions will receive more help in managing their transition from the hospital to home with the launch of a new programme on Tuesday (June 27).
The Care Coordinator Associate Programme aims to train people to check on discharged patients of SingHealth institutions, which includes Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and KK Women's and Children's Hospital.
These "care coordinators" will be taught how to conduct telephone follow-ups and make home visits, based on the discharge care plan drawn up by a team of "patient navigators", who are registered nurses.
During the home visits, care coordinators will ensure that patients and their caregivers follow the plan, assess the safety of the patient's home and his risk of suffering falls. The coordinators are also tasked with educating patients on lifestyle and dietary changes, and connect them to social support services such as home and day care, financial assistance and meals-on-wheels.
"As the main liaison between patients and health and social care providers, care coordinator associates are instrumental in ensuring that patients transit smoothly from one care setting to another," said Professor Fong Kok Yong, deputy group chief executive officer of regional health and medical at SingHealth.
"By keeping a close eye on patients post-discharge, the care team can spot complications early and intervene before they worsen, helping patients to remain well-supported in the community.
In March, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor announced that more mid-career Singaporeans will be trained as care coordinator associates.
Training will be conducted by SingHealth patient navigators. Trainees will be able to learn through problem-based case scenarios and gain hands-on experiences.
Anyone can sign up for the programme, and each person will have to pay $5,350 in fees. Singaporeans who are looking to make a mid-career switch into the healthcare sector as care coordinators need not pay - they will get 90 per cent of their training fees funded under the Professional Conversion Programme, with the remaining fees covered by participating employers.
After completing the three-month full-time course, they will be awarded a certificate in integrated care. The first intake of up to 20 trainees will start their training in September, and be deployed to SGH and KKH.
Singaporeans who are looking to make a mid-career switch into the healthcare sector as care coordinators will get 90 per cent of their training fees funded under the Professional Conversion Programme, with the remaining fees covered by participating employers.
Interested applicants will need to be hired by participating employers before undergoing training. Applications for the first intake are open from now till July 31.
SingHealth is also partnering Republic Polytechnic (RP) to develop a new specialist diploma in transitional care management. The part-time programme will start in October and students can later join SingHealth as care coordinator associate executives.
The two institutes are also working to incorporate a transitional care module into the curriculum of RP's diploma in health services management. The module will start in October next year for Year 2 students, who can join SingHealth as senior care coordinator associates.
Other healthcare institutionsalso offer similar services such as transitional care, which helps ease patients back into their homes after discharge.