Since independence, keeping healthcare effective and affordable have been the government’s key considerations in healthcare planning. The healthcare needs of Singaporeans have grown increasingly complex over time. With the rising prevalence of chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, a shift in the way we deliver care is necessary.
“Over the last few years, MOH has significantly improved the accessibility, affordability and quality of healthcare in Singapore under our Healthcare 2020 Masterplan. Nevertheless, we cannot afford to stay still as there remain many challenges ahead, such as our ageing population, increased chronic disease burden and the need to manage future growth in healthcare manpower and spending.” - Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health in 2017
The first community hospital in Singapore, St Andrew’s Community Hospital (SACH), was opened in 1992 to meet these needs. Changi General Hospital (CGH) was the first acute hospital in Singapore to partner with SACH for integrated care in 2005, when SACH moved next door to CGH in Simei. This partnership further blossomed into The CGH-SACH Integrated Building, the first purpose built facility in Singapore jointly run by an acute hospital and community hospital. Officially opened in 2015, the Integrated Building focuses on providing optimised rehabilitation for patients to facilitate their transition back to home and the community.
While acute hospitals focus on treatment and surgery, community hospitals provide rehabilitative and sub-acute care to help in the recovery process, so that patients can return home and resume daily activities faster. Some community hospitals also offer palliative care and care for the chronic sick.
SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH), formed in 2017, is the first cluster of community hospitals in Singapore with three community hospitals, Bright Vision Hospital, Sengkang Community Hospital and Outram Community Hospital, under its wing.
Bright Vision Hospital (BVH) became Singapore's first public community hospital when it joined the SingHealth cluster in 2011. It was founded in 2001 by the Singapore Buddhist Welfare Society, and is now managed by SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH).
Find out more about Bright Vision Hospital.
With community hospitals co-located with acute hospitals in both SGH and SKH Campuses, patients can transition from acute to rehabilitative care seamlessly. This hassle-free experience allows patients to start their rehabilitation journey early, and also frees up resources at the acute hospitals for patients with more urgent needs.
Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH) opened its doors in 2018 and is co-located with Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) to serve the Northeast community. Ward spaces within SKCH were designed with rehabilitation in mind – a long common corridor allows for therapy sessions; a communal eating eat in each ward cubicle encourages patients to move and eat out of bed, and an activity room mimics their home living room for functional rehabilitation sessions.
Find out more about Sengkang Community Hospital.
Outram Community Hospital (OCH) is located on SGH campus, which allows patients' convenient access to SGH and the national specialty centres. Apart from conducive wards build for rehabilitation, a rooftop garden with built-in facilities teaches patients how to get around on public transport while on a wheelchair, as well as navigate different terrains like stairs, slopes, sand and rocky paths. For indoor activities, patients can access the Hospital’s Activities of Daily Living Rooms, which simulate the physical setting of a typical HDB studio apartment.
Find out more about Outram Community Hospital.
Recognising that quality care cannot be delivered alone, SCH works closely with community partners such as community organisations, government agencies, Institutes of Higher Learning, private enterprises and startups in healthcare and social sectors. These strategic partnerships help to coordinate well-paced, personalised care for patients at the three community hospitals under its wing.
SCH works with community partners to support our patients in their recovery. One example is the Integrated Primary Care (iPCARE) programme, an initiative that launched in 2017 that sees community hospitals under SCH work closely with General Practitioners to look after patients with complex social and medical needs after their discharge.
Another example of connecting patients to the community is the Social Prescribing programme, a pilot programme launched in October 2019. It aims to engage patients in social activities and connect individuals to their community with the view to improve their health and wellbeing even after they have been discharged.
Through this programme, patients will be enrolled in activities that promote wellbeing, such as gardening, exercising, singing and engaging games like Rummy-O and mahjong, and just before discharge, they are linked to community care providers offering similar social activities, to continue the engagement and re-integrate them back to their own communities.
Discover more about the work of our SingHealth Community Hospitals team.
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