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Having a loved one warded in the hospital is understandably stressful for many of us. For Mr Derick Wong, he not only cared for his mother but went the extra mile by befriending other patients and gifting items to cheer up both patients and healthcare staff.

Derick’s mother was admitted to Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH) last year for rehabilitative care after undergoing knee replacement surgery at Singapore General Hospital. But she wasn’t his only visit; Derick would often also reach out to other patients in her ward, especially those who seemed lonely or bored.

"My character is very friendly and open so I liked to chat with them and find out more about them. One minute is all it takes to make someone laugh or smile – it can make a huge difference!" he shared. After knowing the other patients better, he could brighten their day with their favourite snacks – a gesture greatly appreciated by the patients.

"One minute is all it takes to make someone laugh or smile – it can make a huge difference!"

While most would consider this as having gone above and beyond, Derick saw the chance to do more, particularly since he found the SKCH staff to be receptive to suggestions. "All the staff were very kind and patient, and it was easy to have open conversations with them," said Derick.

For example, he gave feedback on some patient activities and shared ideas with the SKCH Community Relations team. It was during one of these chats when he decided to sponsor prizes to motivate patients to participate in activities such as bingo so that they can pass time more meaningfully.

Derick also got grocery vouchers for patients, who were surprised and touched by his thoughtfulness. He had wanted to spread the joy of the Christmas festive season and decided on grocery vouchers, which would be "a good and pragmatic choice because patients can get what they want and need".

"Derick’s presence in the ward definitely had a positive impact on our patients. We have seen how he managed to encourage some of them to open up," said SKCH Staff Nurse Flora Mischelle Ilagan. "His appreciation and support towards the staff also encouraged us to continue delivering quality patient care with love and compassion."

For his positivity, Derick was one of the recipients of the SingHealth’s Inspirational Patient and Caregiver Award (IPCA) 2021. On getting the award, he said: "I was surprised because I didn’t think there was anything special about what I did but it is definitely nice to be appreciated!"

Photos: Singapore Health Patient & Caregiver Awards organised by SingHealth