Making care in the community easier

Artist's impression of what Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital's community care centres for seniors will look like when completed.
Artist's impression of what Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital's community care centres for seniors will look like when completed.PHOTO: KWONG WAI SHIU HOSPITAL

Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital setting up two such centres for seniors in Kallang-Whampoa area

The century-old Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, which cares for the elderly sick, will expand for the first time when it opens two community care centres in the heartland.

One will be in McNair Road and the other in St George's Lane. Both will be sited in Housing Board residential blocks.

The 690 sq m McNair centre will be at the void deck of a new block with three- and four-room units as well as one-room flats for the elderly. It will be ready next September.

The St George's centre will be slightly bigger, at 870 sq m, and will be at a similar but yet-to-be-completed block of flats. It is expected to be ready in the first quarter of 2019.

Both are in the Kallang-Whampoa area, near Serangoon Road where the hospital stands.

The hospital itself is in its final phase of being transformed from a three-storey building into a 12-storey integrated institution that specialises in elderly care. The expansion costs $96 million.

Today, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong will visit the hospital and attend its 106th anniversary celebrations.

Hospital chairman Patrick Lee said the centres' locations were chosen because of their close proximity to the hospital, which can then extend its active ageing programmes more easily to the centres.

The centres aim to help senior citizens stay active mentally and socially with high-tech rehabilitation equipment, physiotherapy sessions and wellness programmes.

The programmes include health screening and talks, plus home care services for the bedridden living in the Kallang-Whampoa area.

The setting up of the centres is in line with the Health Ministry's efforts to have the elderly spend less time in hospital but "stay at home and in the community with facilities like our centres", Mr Lee said.

A $1 million budget has been allotted for the centres' operations in the first two years, said the hospital's chief executive Ow Chee Chung. The Government is providing the infrastructure and equipment.

Each centre will have a staff of 30, including nurses, therapists and caregivers. "When fully operational, each centre can expect about 100 visitors daily," he added

Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and MP for the Whampoa ward in Jalan Besar GRC, welcomed the hospital's move to reach out to the community's elderly.

The proportion of people older than 60 years in Whampoa is higher than the national average, he noted, adding: "The elderly care services at the McNair Road centre are certainly welcomed by our residents."

Meanwhile, the redeveloped hospital, when ready by end-2017, will have more than 600 beds, double the previous number.

"It will not only be the largest nursing home in one location but will be equipped with the most comprehensive range of facilities for elderly care, including those with dementia," Dr Ow added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2016, with the headline 'Making care in the community easier'. Print Edition | Subscribe