Stuck in the hospital ward for the whole day, patients now have something to look forward to for a weekly fix of entertainment, thanks to the Variety Hour programme.
How can patients with blocks of free time be occupied and engaged meaningfully? With this question in mind, the Community Relations Team at Bright Vision Hospital (BVH) launched the Variety Hour programme in April 2019, which aimed to share useful knowledge with patients while providing a dose of entertainment at the same time.
Inspired by the Ge-tai – a live stage performance typically held during the lunar seventh month and is popular among the elderly – the Variety Hour programme is a weekly one-hour session conducted in both English and Mandarin. Each session comprised three different components to keep things interesting: an educational talk, performances and a lucky draw.
Before BVH was converted to a community care facility for COVID-19 patients, volunteers used to porter patients from their wards to the atrium at ground floor. Amid the catchy music and boisterous live performances, patients sportingly sang and clapped along, creating a charged and lively atmosphere!
The Show Must Go OnWhen the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic made it unfeasible to conduct Variety Hour as an in-person programme, the Community Relations team did not cancel the programme but moved it to digital platforms. Besides making the most out of an unexpected setback, the situation also presented a silver lining – the programme could be streamed to patients at Outram Community Hospital (OCH) and Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH), the two other hospitals under SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH).
The revamped SCH Variety Hour, where each session is hosted by an emcee remotely, kick-started in March 2021. There is an average of 16 patients from SKCH and OCH who watch the broadcasted programme each session.
Among the satisfied audience was patient Mdm Aw P. L., who had attended three sessions during her stay at OCH. "The programme is engaging and I get to chit-chat with fellow patients. The volunteer performers did a great job and I especially enjoyed the cooking demonstration and health tips," she said.
SHOW ‘N’ TELLJenny Lim Ai Nai is a homemaker and volunteer performer for the SCH Variety Hour programme. Read on to hear about her experience.Tell us how you joined the SCH Variety Hour programme.
My husband and I have volunteered for Variety Hour since its launch at Bright Vision Hospital (BVH) in 2019. In March this year, Julie, our coordinator from Sheng Yi Heng Music Dance and Performance Centre, approached me to perform for the "digital version" of Variety Hour. I immediately agreed because I love performing and bringing happiness to others.
How do you feel when performing for patients?At BVH where we performed live, it was very heartwarming to see how much the patients enjoyed themselves. Seeing patients happily watching, singing, clapping along and interacting with me motivates and makes me happy. Being able to bring them joy makes me joyful in return.
What was it like when you had to perform online for patients due to COVID-19? As I am not physically with the patients, I was a little worried that I may not be able to bring the same hype and energy to them. Nonetheless, I tried my best to replicate the atmosphere of an in-person performance by imagining a live audience, improvising and continuing to interact with the audience through the screen.
What do you find most rewarding about volunteering for Variety Hour?Even though my performance is short, I can spread so much positive energy to the patients. The engagement I get with them and their enthusiastic reactions are really rewarding!
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