- POSTED: 08 Jan 2014 22:59
This graph is an experimental feature that tracks number of views over time.
The Health Ministry said Singapore's healthcare sector is tackling the bed crunch in several ways. Over 1,200 beds will be added this year, comprising both acute, and intermediate and long-term care capacity.
SINGAPORE: The Health Ministry said Singapore's healthcare sector is tackling the bed crunch in several ways.
Over 1,200 beds will be added this year, comprising both acute, and intermediate and long-term care capacity.
At the same time, hospitals are also caring for patients in their homes and community.
Several hospitals have started transitional care to better help patients transit home smoothly, which then facilitates timely discharge.
The transitional care teams, as they are called, comprise doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to care for and ensure patients are well supported medically after their discharge, and their conditions do not deteriorate, resulting in re-admissions.
Several hospitals also refer patients to "interim caregivers", who provide comprehensive personal care to patients post-discharge, if they lack support at home.
Some hospitals have started new programmes to help frail patients who have a history of frequent re-admissions control and improve their conditions.
The Virtual Hospital programme by Tan Tock Seng Hospital assigns care managers to these patients, to provide constant monitoring and advice to help patients improve and stay out of hospitals.
The Ministry said the private and people sector have also chipped in to help.
Changi General Hospital will partner private GPs in the eastern region to attend to patients who may not need A&E services for their conditions.
Community hospitals operated by voluntary welfare organisations have also partnered public hospitals to accept patients who do not require acute hospital care, and some also plan to expand capacity to help support the present healthcare needs.
The ministry added that demand for healthcare services has changed over the years. In particular, demand has increased as the population ages.
Demand for services has also increased with shrinking family size and weaker home support.
Elderly patients need good support post discharge and discharge from hospital may be delayed if their caregivers are unable to cope with caring for them at home.
This results in a longer length of stay and intensifies the bed crunch.
Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said: "We have seen the trend of a steady increase in demand for healthcare services and have already planned for new hospitals, community hospitals and nursing homes a few years ago. However, this will take time to build. For example, the new Ng Teng Fong Hospital will be ready by the end of the year.
“Right now, we are actively working to tackle the current crunch in a few public hospitals, such as tapping available bed capacity in other public hospitals, as well as facilitating the timely discharge of patients to available beds in the community hospitals, or with the help of home care providers.”