SINGAPORE - Giving residents at All Saints Home in Yishun their daily shower used to be a hurried process that started at 5.30am but a new approach has changed all that.
The nursing home embarked on a productivity drive in August last year that now allows residents to choose their preferred shower time slots. It has also streamlined processes and installed shower racks in toilets, saving on time needed to gather supplies like towels and soap.
The level of care has improved as staff have more time with residents, who now have the dignity of choice.
"When you give them that choice, you help them preserve their dignity," said nursing director Tan Lai Suan.
She added that the productivity improvements, which have since been expanded to all four All Saints Homes institutions, have saved up to 45 minutes of shower time on each ward.
The Health Ministry has ramped up funding for healthcare providers who want to improve work practices. Earlier this year, it announced that it will inject $80 million into the Healthcare Productivity Fund over the next three years.
This allows providers to secure funding of up to 85 per cent, from 67 per cent previously, said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor on Wednesday (Sept 19).
The money can be used on technology that helps reduce time and effort spent on manpower-intensive processes, such as electronic pill crushers.
Dr Khor told the Quality and Productivity Festival on Wednesday that it is important to foster a "culture of continual learning and improvement".
She added that as the healthcare sector works to transform its approach to providing care, it must be open to experimenting with new ways of working that maximise opportunities for improvement.
Dr Khor said: "Building and sustaining the right mindset and culture is essential in the longevity of our healthcare system."
Individuals and teams at the festival were also given awards for displaying excellence in delivering care.
There were 407 winners, including Ms Lily Li, a 42-year-old nurse manager with HCA Hospice Care. She noted that her experience taking care of the dying - many of them children - has taught her much about life: "It's about focusing on what we still have instead of what we are losing or going to lose.
"I feel that when they die, they take a part of me - but they also leave a part of themselves with me."