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Just as it takes a village to raise a child, a patient's well-being can be positively impacted by various groups in the community, even those who are not in the healthcare sector.

When you think of partners for hospitals, it is unlikely for schools or an airline company to come to mind. It can therefore be surprising that these are indeed some of the partners SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH) collaborate with for our patients.

After our volunteer programme turned virtual, one of the earliest supporters of Bright Vision Hospital (BVH) was neighbouring school, Xinmin Secondary School.

The young students sportingly proposed crafts that they wanted to teach our patients, such as origami and hook adjustors for face masks. Eager for the e-craft sessions to be enjoyable for our patients, they even took time to rehearse before the live sessions.

To make it easier for patients to follow the demonstration, Xinmin Secondary students also came up with instruction manuals in English, Mandarin, Tamil and Bengali. They even got the help of a special volunteer for their sessions – one of BVH's gardeners!

With the support of his supervisor, BVH gardener Mr Paran Mohammad Shah spent part of his working hours translating for these sessions, which was very helpful for engaging our Bengalispeaking patients.

Aside from crafting, the students also facilitated e-language sessions where patients were taught basic health-related English terms such as "cough", "fever", and "sore throat", all of which were especially important during the pandemic to help them communicate with doctors and nurses.

Another organisation that came forward to support our patients during the pandemic was Singapore Airlines (SIA). A team of 80 SIA staff volunteers helped to pack 60,000 masks, which had been donated by Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd, to be given to our patients upon discharge.

The wards at Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH) and Outram Community Hospital (OCH) were also kept lively thanks to our partners who stepped up to help host and facilitate virtual activities. Students from Compassvale Secondary School, which is near SKCH, interacted with our patients through a series of engaging activities like guessing games and singing sessions.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Economics Alumni, and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences also teamed up with the hospital for the NUS Day of Service 2020. Patients had a virtual exercise session, and then enjoyed playing bingo and singing with the NUS volunteers. At the end of the event, participating patients and ward staff were treated to goodie bags sponsored by the volunteers.

Even during the pandemic, we made sure that our patients do not miss out on special occasions! For National Day, ActiveSG conducted a special segment comprising national day songs and a healthy seniors' workout for our patients to follow over Zoom. With mooncakes sponsored by Bread Garden, patients also enjoyed a live concert plus a session of Laughter Yoga – where simple yoga breathing techniques were combined with laughter – by Chinese Development Assistance Council during the Mid-Autumn Festival period.

Local musical theatre academy Sing'theatre also continued their partnership with us, bringing its live interactive e-concerts with multilingual songs and song dedications to our patients!