21 Recipients – Largest Group of Unsung Heroes Lauded for Their Selfless Contributions at the Singapore Patient Action Awards 2021
19 November 2021
Good health literacy and co-creating patient education between healthcare professionals, patients and caregivers are crucial for people to take charge of their health, become activated and care for one another. These are the key points that participants will take away at the Singapore Patient Conference (SPC) organised by Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s Centre for Health Activation (CHA), in partnership with Central Health, National Healthcare Group, National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, Institute of Mental Health and Yishun Health.
Held online to the theme of “Empowering a Healthy Community Through Patient Education”, the conference is in its 9th year and continues to be a dynamic platform for conversations and co-learning between patients, caregivers, volunteers, residents, health and social care partners.
“The complexity of modern health information can be difficult for anyone to process. This year’s SPC focuses on improving the ease and accessibility of educational tools and resources to be available for individuals. This would enable and empower everyone to successfully find and access care, prevent certain health conditions, effectively manage those that occur, communicate their needs, understand their choices and make informed decisions” said Dr Tjan Soon Yin, Co-chair of the SPC 2021 Organising Committee, Senior Consultant, Rehabilitation Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Over the years, Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s CHA has seen a growing interest in learning, sharing and co-creating health-related knowledge among event participants. From 2019 to 2021, there has also been a 25% increase in the number of participants aged 24 to 55 signing up for its fringe activities and programmes, ever since SPC was converted to a virtual platform in 2020.
As early as July 2021, fringe activities kicked off to culminate at SPC’s Main Conference on 19 and 20 November 2021. Various wellness-related activities such as the Sustainable Caregiving 101 Seminar and Let’s Get Cookin’! workshop were conducted. Invited guests, caregivers and volunteers shared their personal experiences and stories during the sessions to motivate others in their wellness journey.
To encourage and empower patients, caregivers and residents to make better and healthier lifestyle choices, more patient educational content was developed and made available to the public this year through
TTSH’s online Health Library. The online resource portal provides comprehensive information for patients to learn more about diseases, medical conditions, medication management, mental well-being and caregiving skills.
Caregivers are an essential part of the healthcare ecosystem. Whether new or seasoned caregivers, it can be challenging to learn different caregiving skills at once and to cope with the needs of the patient. To aid the increased number of caregivers,
Carer Matters - a TTSH nurse-led caregiving training initiative was launched in 2019. Carer Matters is Singapore’s first hospital-home caregiving framework that equips carers with the skillset and knowledge on day-to-day caregiving, preventive care and future planning. Caregivers will also learn coping strategies to better care for themselves. In addition, Carer Matters has developed a suite of useful online materials and virtual programmes for caregivers. As part of the fringe activities of SPC, Carer Matters conducted a seminar to better reach out to caregivers in the community.
Singapore Patient Action Awards 2021: Largest Number of Invisible Heroes Honoured in Last Seven Years
21 inspiring individuals and groups who have contributed significantly to the healing journeys of patients and uplifting of community health will be honoured during the 7th edition of Singapore Patient Action Awards (SPAA), which is held in conjunction with SPC. A total of 117 nominations were received this year. This has grown by 208% since its inauguration in year 2015 and it is by far the largest number of nominations received. This year, the Covid-19 pandemic prompted more nominations of community project initiatives focused on improving the well-being of socially isolated elderly individuals and migrant workers. The awards will be presented during SPC on 19 November 2021.
SPAA will be held online to acknowledge the invisible heroes in health and social care who have exhibited extraordinary qualities of courage, empathy, mental resilience and generosity of spirit, in the face of adversity. The five award categories are: “Singapore Patient Caregiver Award”, “Singapore Patient Advocate Award”, “Singapore Patient Support Group/ Volunteer Group Award”, “Singapore Patient Engagement Initiative Award”, and “Singapore Community Engagement Initiative Award”.
Singapore Community Engagement Initiative Award (Team-based) honours the work of successful neighbourhood-based initiatives that have contributed significantly to the improvement of care and overall well-being of residents and the local community.
The Project Pencil Singapore @Yishun 71 was set up as a first responder to support needy families and those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a by neighbours for neighbours initiative in Yishun with an aim to instil a sense of “kampung spirit” through socially engaging activities such as: block cleaning, exercise programme for elderly, food distribution, free tuition for children, field trips and providing support for the children’s social and emotional development.
Operated by AMKFSC Community Services, the
Community Care Hub @ 414 is a by-residents-for-residents initiative that aims to build strong relationships among community members and facilitate an organic community of care. By fostering a spirit of collaboration and interdependence, the initiative mobilises residents to contribute their gifts and assets towards the well-being of marginalised neighbours, including individuals with financial problems, disabilities, and mental health struggles. In strengthening their social support and networks, Community Care Hub @ 414 creates a more resilient and cohesive community where no one is left behind.
The Singapore Patient Caregiver Award (Individual) honours caregivers for their strength, resilience, and unwavering dedication in caring for their loved ones amidst health and/or social care challenges.
- Despite having children of her own,
Mdm Zainab Bte Baker still manages to foster 10 children in her lifetime. Khai*, one of her fostered son whom she has been caring for the past 17 years has quadriplegic cerebral palsy since he was about a year old. He is not able to walk or talk and relies on milk feed through a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) button attached to his abdomen. But that did not deter Mdm Zainab from learning the necessary skills to care for his needs. Besides caregiving, she also accompanies him to school and appointments and pays out of her pocket to cover the huge cost of living for him.
*Not his real name
The Singapore Patient Advocate Award (Individual) recognises individuals who are passionate about advocating for meaningful causes, and have contributed significantly towards improving care delivery.
Ms Serlina Eng is a Principal Case Manager at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) and an advocate for mental health. At work, she inspires her colleagues with her dedication to serve her patients based on personalised care, which she initiated in a Clinical Practice Improvement Project (CPIP). She also initiated the “Make yoU a Mask (MUM)” project which gave IMH patients an opportunity to learn a new skill and give back to the society by sewing masks for fellow patients, caregivers, and nurses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Outside of work, she devotes her time to raise funds for patients’ non-medical needs, as well as for at-risk youths and athletes with disabilities in Singapore.
The Singapore Patient Engagement Initiative Award (Team-based) pays tribute to collaborative health and/or social care projects or initiatives within Singapore that contribute to the improvement of care and overall health and well-being of patients, caregivers, and/or the community.
- The team of occupational therapists, nurses and clinicians at Yishun Health's Cognition 6th Vital Sign service designed S.A.F.E (Stimulating Activities For Frail Elderly) Programme to enhance the function and promote the overall well-being of patients with dementia or delirium in the inpatient wards. ‘S.A.F.E Volunteers’ were trained to understand the target patient group and learn how to actively engage them. Group reminiscence activities and therapeutic horticulture activities were also conducted for patients. After the programme was rolled out, the number of patients who sat out of bed to engage in activities increased from around 11% to 23%. There was also an increase in general alertness and pleasure, and a decrease in anxiety and fear and sadness among patients.