New hub in Tampines aims to take care of elderly's health and social needs

Our SilverCare Hub comprises two healthcare facilities and a senior care centre at Our Tampines Hub. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - A new hub that aims to meet the health and social needs of elderly residents in the east was launched on Saturday (Sept 22).

Called Our SilverCare Hub, it comprises two healthcare facilities and a senior care centre at Our Tampines Hub.

Seniors can use the different facilities within a stone's throw away from one another and also benefit from more seamless care, with the sharing of information about seniors' well-being and medical history between these partners.

While each of the three facilities have their own staff, they work closely together, providing services such as physiotherapy, dementia day care, community rehabilitation, counselling, and primary care.

Those requiring more complex or specialised care can be referred to Changi General Hospital (CGH).

The hub was launched by Finance Minister and Tampines GRC MP Heng Swee Keat at Our Tampines Hub and is a partnership between CGH, St Andrew's Senior Care (Tampines), the Eastern Community Health Centre, and the Tampines Family Medicine Clinic.

In his speech, Mr Heng said the hub is a "concrete manifestation" of the government's efforts to partner public and private sectors, marrying health and social care to support seniors to age well.

"Our SilverCare Hub is situated within an eco-system of health and wellness: it is side-by-side with the Wellness Centre and the ActiveSG gym.

"The message is clear - we want to rehabilitate and provide treatment to our seniors with the eventual goal of returning back to health and active aging," he added.

Adjunct Associate Professor Lee Chien Earn, deputy group chief executive of SingHealth Regional Health System, said the hub enables senior residents in the east to receive comprehensive and integrated care within their community.

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Prof Lee, who is also chief executive officer of CGH, added: "With health and social needs assessment available under one roof, the care needs of senior residents can be identified early so that the right help and support can be given.

"This will provide seniors the peace of mind, so that they have the confidence to live and age well in their community, knowing that support and help is available close by, when needed."

The hub is part of the larger system of care in Tampines and the east, which also involves groups such as grassroots organisations, voluntary welfare organisations, and the Community Network for Seniors, he added.

While the three facilities have been open since last year (2017), there is now an established set of protocols to provide seniors with a seamless transition across different facilities, said Ms Yap Mei Foon, director of Integrated Care Development at CGH.

The community health centre and the family medicine clinic are located next to each other on the third floor, while the St Andrew's Senior Care centre is on the fourth floor.

The elderly can also make use of other facilities within Our Tampines Hub to keep active, such as gardening in the community garden or playing table tennis in the auditorium.

At the clinic, the elderly can take an assessment of their health and well-being. This includes their eyesight, hearing and eating abilities, in addition to their medical history.

Information gathered from this comprehensive geriatric assessment can then be shared between the three facilities, with the patient's consent, to enable a seamless care experience.

Dr Leong Choon Kit, director of Tampines Family Medicine Clinic, said: "With the assessment, the other partners can look at the same patient comprehensively, rather than doing the assessment three times."

This would also allow a better understanding of the patient's condition over time, he added.

Madam Laila Kadir, 72, a former hotel chef, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees and her doctor recommended she take part in daycare activities at the St Andrew's senior care centre and physiotherapy at the community health centre.

She said she feels better and healthier after attending daycare and physiotherapy.

"Before, I felt lazy and had no mood to do anything. But here, I feel happy," she added.

Prof Lee said: "The key success is not primarily the facilities per se, but the spirit of collaboration between like-minded partners to make this a reality. Because increasingly, we recognise that no one party can provide all the care for the patients or our clients and residents."

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