SINGAPORE: More needs to be done to shift rehabilitative care beyond hospitals and into the community, Senior Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min said on Thursday (Sep 7).
Speaking at the fifth Singapore Rehabilitation Conference held at the Singapore General Hospital campus, Dr Lam said the demand for rehabilitative care is expected to spike with Singapore’s rapidly ageing population.
"By 2030, one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 years and above, nearly double that of today. More patients, especially elderly patients with multiple chronic conditions, may face functional deterioration that will require multi-disciplinary care,” he said.
"While we provide wide-ranging rehabilitation services in our acute hospitals, we need to do more to shift the gravity of care into the community so that patients can be cared for in an environment that they are familiar with.”
INTEGRATING PATIENT CARE INTO THE COMMUNITY
Dr Lam highlighted several ways Singapore is working to integrate patient care into the community.
One is early rehabilitation intervention, which has proven to be effective especially for elderly patients to reduce functional decline and the need for a longer hospital stay.
The Government is also building more community hospitals to serve as rehabilitation hubs. This includes Outram Community Hospital and the upcoming Integrated Care Hub at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which will provide services ranging from helping stroke patients regain their strength to using rehabilitative technology for complex cases.
To make it more convenient for seniors to access rehabilitation services, the Health Ministry also plans to increase the number of Day Rehabilitation and Senior Care Centres in nursing homes, polyclinics, community centres and HDB void decks beyond the current 70 that are currently available.
Finally, MOH is working with various rehabilitation providers to develop closer links and ensure patient-centric care and a more seamless transition from hospital to community.
Dr Lam also outlined existing technologies such as electrical muscle stimulation and tele-rehabilitation, where patients can undergo physiotherapy exercises from home.
The two-day conference will see around 550 participants, including rehabilitation care practitioners and experts from Singapore and the region, come together to share insights. Topics covered include the use of technology and robotics in rehabilitation, geriatric rehabilitation and the latest rehab developments for patients with neurological conditions such as stroke.