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Helping Elderly Patients Live Life to the Fullest

Chitra D/O Pandiaya, Senior Nurse Manager, Geriatric Medicine Clinic, CGH

During Chitra's stint as a nursing student, she met a number of elderly patients who had a wealth of life experiences, but were sometimes neglected. This inspired Chitra to pursue a specialisation in geriatrics, and 20 years later, remains a choice she never regretted, as the relationship she shares with her patients motivates her passion in nursing.

"I have known some of my patients for more than 10 years," she shared. "Whenever they come for their clinic appointments, they will look out for me and inquire about me. Despite the language barriers with some patients, we are able to maintain a strong bond."

One of the clinics Chitra currently oversees is the Geriatric Day Hospital (GDH) at Changi General Hospital (CGH), a hospital-based outpatient daycare facility that caters to patients aged 65 years and above, who have a combination of medical, nursing and functional issues. One of the GDH's biggest events was an annual Year-End Party, which had up to 40 current and discharged patients and their caregivers getting together for games and food before the COVID-19 pandemic. Four years ago, Chitra also took on an additional responsibility of overseeing the Psychological Medicine Clinic and Neuroscience Rehabilitation Medicine Centre.

She recalled an incident when her secondary school teacher, whom she had not met for many years, was referred to the GDH as a patient with cognitive impairment. During her care sessions, Chitra would spend time chatting and reminiscing about school days with her, as a form of therapy to help her teacher recollect her past memories. Though it was heart-rending when her teacher eventually passed on, Chitra was glad to have been able to form positive memories with her, just like how she had contributed to Chitra's wonderful memories during her school days.