SINGAPORE: The new Woodlands Care Home (WLCH) is piloting an initiative that aims to help residents become independent.
The Home Enablement and Autonomous Living (HEAL) programme emphasises rehabilitation, with the goal for residents to eventually return home. WLCH, which opened in October last year, has identified three of its 109 residents to be part of HEAL since the pilot started in March, where they will live independently and autonomously as part of their discharge preparations.
This includes planning their own daily activities, and being encouraged to serve their own meals, do their own laundry as well as go to the toilet and shower themselves. Nurses will still play a part in their care, particularly in managing their medication.
One of the residents under the HEAL programme is 43-year-old Abraham Mizam, who lost his left leg after a motorcycle accident in Batam. Mizam, who is also diabetic, said he has “learnt a lot” from the programme.
“I’ve learnt how to survive alone. Before I had to rely on the support of my friends," he said. “I learnt things like how to fold clothes - you may think it’s simple but it’s actually not that simple.”
He added that the programme has given him the confidence he needs to go home. It is estimated that he will be able to do so in three to six months’ time after he gets fitted with a prosthetic leg.
Separately, WLCH also provides caregiver training, to make the transition for residents more sustainable in the long term. Currently, WLCH said it has one caregiver undergoing a formal, full-time and structured training programme, while 10 other next-of-kin receive informal training whenever they visit their family members at the centre.
WLCH is run by Vanguard Healthcare, which was set up by the Ministry of Health (MOH) under MOH Holdings to operate nursing homes. It currently has 109 residents and plans to hit its full bed capacity of 248 by August.
WLCH also houses Vanguard’s first Senior Care Centre, which will be up and running by the middle of the year. It will provide day care and rehabilitation services to seniors within the vicinity.
Another focus of WLCH is community partnerships. To date, it has 1,150 student volunteers from Admiralty Secondary School and Riverside Primary School, as well as 25 community volunteers from the Woodlands area. The volunteers engage in various activities with the residents, such as playing board games, arts and crafts and even teaching them how to surf the Internet.
It is the second Vanguard home, after the Pearl’s Hill Care Home in Outram, which began operations in January 2016.
Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport Lam Pin Min, who visited WLCH on Monday, said that Vanguard Healthcare was formed in 2015 to look into the challenges faced by nursing homes; and to act as a catalyst for the development of innovative models of care.
"Woodlands Care Home is a very good example of a new innovation as well as a new model of care," he said.
Plans for a third nursing home in Tampines North are underway, with the home set to open in the second half of this year. Mr Lam said that this will be the "biggest care home" by Vanguard Healthcare, with 300 beds and a senior care centre.
"In deciding the location, we do look at the demographic profile of the place. At the same time, we also do an analysis of where the demand will be, whether there’s any shortfall of nursing home places in those areas," said Dr Lam. "Tampines North is probably one of those areas where they need a nursing home to support the growing demand."