Speech by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, at the Official Opening of Pearl’s Hill Care Home
Dr Lily Neo, Adviser to the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Grassroots Organisations
Staff and Residents of Pearl’s Hill Care Home
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good afternoon. I am delighted to join you today at the official opening of Pearl’s Hill Care Home. This is the first home to be operated by Vanguard Healthcare, which MOH has set up under MOH Holdings to operate nursing homes. This 130-bed home is well-sited in the Outram area, which has one of the highest proportions of seniors in Singapore.
Role of Vanguard to Catalyse Innovation and New Care Models
2. In the last five years, we have progressively increased the number of nursing home beds from 9,000 to more than 12,000 beds today. We are on track to meet our target of having 17,000 beds by 2020.
3. In 2014, I announced that MOH will operate a small number of the new nursing homes ourselves, in order to better understand the challenges of nursing home operators and how we can better support them. We also want to catalyse innovations in eldercare services. Vanguard will develop new models of care that are cost effective while striving to provide affordable quality care to our patients. We will share our experiences and innovations with other providers in the eldercare sector to push the boundaries, so as to benefit the sector as a whole.
4. It is our intention for Vanguard Healthcare to operate a small number of nursing homes – this one at Pearl’s Hill, and the next upcoming one in Woodlands, which will be opened at the end of 2017.
5. Since starting operations in January this year, Pearl’s Hill Care Home has been focusing on making care more seamless between the hospitals and the community. Leveraging on its proximity to SingHealth, which is situated just across the road at Outram, the Home has partnered SingHealth on several fronts. For example, SingHealth is providing medical and allied health services, such as dietetics, speech therapy and podiatry services, so that residents at the Home can continue to receive good quality care.
6. For the convenience of its patients, Pearl’s Hill Care Home is also partnering SingHealth in the Transitional Convalescent Facility (TCF) programme. This programme provides short term rehabilitation services for patients at Pearl’s Hill Care Home for a period of time after a hospital stay, before the patients return home.
7. One resident who has benefitted from this programme is Madam Jamaliah Yacob. Her right foot was almost severed in an accident in February. Fortunately, her foot was saved and she was referred to Pearl’s Hill Care Home to undergo rehabilitation. Madam Jamaliah describes the support she received at Pearl’s Hill as ‘amazing’. The joint support of the nurses, doctors, physiotherapists and medical social workers enabled Madam Jamaliah to recover quickly. She is now back home, walking on her own, with the aid of a walking stick. She is literally back on her feet, and thanks to the team at Pearl’s Hill for her rapid recovery.
8. The Home has cared for 159 residents so far, out of which 18 have been discharged home after undergoing successful rehabilitation.
9. By working in partnership with the hospitals and other community partners, Vanguard hopes to provide better continuity of care for seniors in the community. This will enable our seniors to recover in a shorter time, so that they can return home to their loved ones as soon as possible.
10. The Home is also testing out better and more efficient ways of delivering care. For example, it is working with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to pilot innovations such as the Fall Prevention Toilet Sensor, which helps to prevent falls by alerting caregivers when the patient attempts to stand up from the toilet seat unassisted. Another innovation is the Modular Wheelchair Storage System, which comprises of a compact two-tier rack with assisted mechanical lifting of wheelchairs. This system provides an effective space-saving solution for wheelchair storage. The Home will continue to pilot more innovation with the view of sharing their experiences with the sector.
Source: Ministry of Health Singapore