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Caring For Others

With 40 nurses and support care staff under his charge at Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH), Jeremy is well-known as a leader with empathy, strong listening skills, and openness to ideas for improvement.

He has fostered a strong culture of open communication and mutual learning in his team, where team members leverage one another's strengths to care for and support the patients on their recovery journey. They also work together to make sure that their workload is fairly distributed to prevent burnout.

A collaborative work group is one where colleagues care for one another. During the pandemic when a number of foreign colleagues were feeling homesick, Jeremy went beyond his call of duty by always being there to give them his support and even preparing food to make them feel at home. When their home countries were struck by natural disasters, Jeremy coordinated donation drives to support them and this fostered the team's solidarity in times of need.

"To take care of others, we must first take care of ourselves. This is why I believe strongly in fostering a culture of care and respect within my team." Lim Kheng Chye Jeremy, Nurse Clinician, Sengkang Community Hospital 

Social prescribing is a new care model at SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH) to look into patients' health and social integration, in addition to their clinical conditions. Addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) of patients, such as living environment, social support and access to health and community care, social prescribing allows SCH to improve health outcomes for their older patients who are more frail with multiple chronic diseases. Research has found that SDOH greatly influence a patient's health, and those with low levels of SDOH are at higher risk of having poor health outcomes and require more community support for their recovery.

Adapted from best practices in the United Kingdom, social prescribing at SCH addresses each patient's SDOH early in their hospital stay and aims to improve his or her well-being through activities and connection back into the community. Patients are screened by Wellbeing Coordinators upon admission, and those identified as having poor SDOH are given personalised care plans. The coordinators would actively encourage these patients to participate in social activities at the hospital, such as Bingo, arts and craft, or gardening sessions to promote positive emotions and engagement with others.

Upon discharge, the coordinators link the patients with community care providers, including local government agencies and social services, to sustain improvements to the patients' wellbeing. These providers work with the coordinators to develop plans for each patient to re-integrate back into their community

First piloted in October 2019 at Bright Vision Hospital (BVH), the programme was progressively rolled out to other hospitals under SCH. With the COVID-19 pandemic, an e-social prescribing programme was also launched to help isolated seniors stay in touch. The programme was co-developed with the Institute for Adult Learning, and seniors were taught important and useful digital skills such as connecting to Wireless@SG, using WhatsApp, and scanning QR codes.

Now a mainstream initiative at SCH, the social prescribing programme was named the 'Best International Social Prescribing Scheme' at the Social Prescribing Network Awards (2021), organised in part by the College of Medicine, a registered charity in England. The SCH project team was also invited to share best practices at World Health Organization (WHO) platforms, and asked to co-produce a WHO Social Prescribing toolkit, which is a recognition of the programme's innovation and success.

"We are glad that our programme is able to optimise existing community assets to improve health outcomes. We also feel a sense of fulfilment when we see patients successfully integrated in their community." Adeline Kwan Li Feng, Team Lead, and Senior Manager, Office of Community Engagement and Education (OCEAN)