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The Missing Link


SKCH MSW and CR team joined hands to ensure that patient receives a smooth transition from SKCH to home

While Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH) patient Mrs Lee (not her real name) was ready to be discharged on 5 April 2020, her home was not.

Mrs Lee was supposed to move into her brand new one-room rental flat upon discharge, but her flat needed cleaning before she could move in. When our Medical Social Workers (MSWs) at SKCH shared this need with our Community Relations (CR) team, they had the perfect solution in mind – a volunteer group called Keeping Hope Alive, dedicated to providing assistance to needy families living in rental flats.

The CR team immediately reached out to the founder of the volunteer group, Ms Fion Phua to convey Mrs Lee’s needs and helped to coordinate the arrangements for the volunteer group to visit Mrs Lee’s home. It turned out that not only were they keen to help clean Mrs Lee’s flat, they even offered to purchase appliances and furniture to furnish her flat using the volunteer group’s network and resources without any monetary charges to Mrs Lee. This blessing was much-welcomed, as the additional furnishings will help to facilitate Mrs Lee’s independent movement around the flat.

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Armed with buckets and brushes, the volunteers jumped into action upon receiving the key to Mrs Lee’s flat. They spent an entire day scrubbing Mrs Lee’s flat spotless. No corner was left untouched, and even the external windows were meticulously wiped down!

The following day, the volunteers helped to install newly-purchased electrical appliances and fixtures, such as a toilet bowl, washing machine, fridge and a TV! A handy member of the group even helped to adjust the water heater to a height that was suitable for Mrs Lee who was wheelchair-bound.

Our MSWs Wanqi and Wern Shing then went down to ensure that Mrs Lee would be able to live and function independently in her new furnished flat. With recommendations from the Occupational Therapists, our MSWs also bought a pail, scoop and long shower hose so that Mrs Lee will be able to shower comfortably while remaining seated in the bathroom.

The end result – a sparkling clean, furnished and cosy flat that was all primed for Mrs Lee’s discharge.

The journey that started out with a simple request to clean up a patient’s flat eventually evolved into a full-fledged volunteer operation to ensure Mrs Lee’s flat was not just conducive, but as optimal as it could be for her post-discharge life.

This story highlights not only the importance of communication between the multidisciplinary teams at SCH, but also of the key role our community partners and volunteers play in providing the ‘missing’ link.

Our close working relationship with volunteer groups such as Keeping Hope Alive made it possible for us to help patients like Mrs Lee experience a smooth transition into the community.

Together, we can make a difference in the lives of our patients.