The upcoming facility will offer patients a seamless continuum of post-acute care to prepare patients for reintegration back into the community
21 March 2017 – In yet another step towards shaping new transformations in meeting the nation's healthcare needs, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) broke ground on the Integrated Care Hub (ICH) today. The ceremony was officiated by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health.
Singapore's healthcare needs have been increasing in volume and complexity due to an ageing population, longer life expectancy, and the burden of chronic diseases. In line with the Ministry of Health's plan of enhancing the care delivery system from one that is hospital-centric to community-based, the ICH will focus on bridging patients from the acute care setting and reintegrating them smoothly back into the community.
Reintegrating Patients Back into the Community
To be managed by TTSH, the ICH is slated to officially open in 2022 and will be the rehabilitative pillar of the 17-hectare modern integrated HealthCity Novena, the master plan of which was announced in 2013 by Minister for Health Mr Gan Kim Yong.
The purpose-built facility will feature more than 500 beds and a full range of rehabilitation care facilities that will help optimise patients' recovery and independence to prepare them to lead life back at home.
"For many years, in partnership with Ren Ci Hospital and other intermediate care partners, we have been helping patients to transition their care from our hospital back into the community. There is now a need for additional subacute beds and a second community hospital to benefit more recovering patients in central Singapore. The new ICH will fulfil this role and more. Our TTSH Rehabilitation Centre will be relocated here from their present site at Ang Mo Kio, to offer recovering patients our best on-site tertiary rehabilitative medicine services here in Novena Campus.
Dover Park Hospice (DPH) will also be moving into ICH for more co-ordinated services with our acute medical teams to provide excellent palliative care for patients at their end-of-life. Our ICH aims to help patients who have gone through serious or devastating illnesses or trauma, to regain their functional abilities at home, in the community, in schools or at their workplace, so that they can find meaning and purpose in their lives again," said Associate Professor Thomas Lew, Chairman Medical Board, TTSH.
Streams of Care at the ICH
The highest level of rehabilitation provided at the ICH will serve patients with complex needs, such as patients with traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, complex stroke, or catastrophic limb loss, who often have higher-intensity rehabilitation needs. TTSH's multi-disciplinary model of care, complemented by rehabilitative technology and robotic machines, will help patients return to their daily function and subsequently to work and life as much as possible.
For the large majority of the ICH patients, rehabilitation and therapy services will help patients regain physical strength to perform their daily activities, such as feeding and showering, which helps with reintegration into the community.
Besides rehabilitation, the ICH will also provide Sub-Acute Care, which supports a patient's recovery phase from an acute illness or injury. Such patients typically would no longer require active oversight of an acute hospital specialist or complex procedures, but still require a level of general medicine and nursing care, which will be provided at ICH.
Palliative Care offered by DPH will provide holistic palliative care services for patients at the end of their lives across three settings: inpatient, home, and day-care. Round-the-clock medical, nursing, and psychosocial care will be provided to alleviate physical and psychological symptoms and issues that patients and their families may face.
Mr Timothy Liu, Chief Executive Officer, DPH said: "Palliative care is not just about addressing our patients' physical pain and symptoms; we also help them and their families address their emotional and psychological challenges. The ICH marks not just a physical expansion of our facilities, but a new journey in providing even better, more holistic care for our patients and their loved ones."
Preparing Patients for Home
In order to provide a nurturing environment to empower patients through active participation in self-managing their conditions, the ICH will house a re-integrative endurance training space that will include sports facilities and simulated terrains and environments such as a bus stop, and a mock-up of a typical home. These enable patients and caregivers to learn strategies to adapt to the home environment. In addition, there will be an Independent Daily Living Resource Centre where patients can try out and familiarise themselves with the use of assistive devices.
Patients undergoing rehabilitation at the ICH can look forward to advanced technology-assisted rehabilitation equipment such as robotics and virtual reality programs, which will complement conventional therapies. An example is the Lokomat, which is able to support a patient's full weight throughout the therapy session, encouraging the patient to participate for longer periods without the fear of falling during therapy. The game systems incorporated into the equipment can also make exercises feel less repetitive.
When Matthew Tan was undergoing rehabilitation after a brain injury, the rehabilitation team made use of the Lokomat to complement his therapy. He said: "The Lokomat trained my walking and reawakened those senses, while the Occupational Therapists taught me how to feed myself, to dress, to transfer myself to a wheelchair independently. My therapists gave me hope for the future and I'm appreciative of being able to do the simple things and lead a normal life."
The ICH is also connected to the main TTSH building via a sky bridge, allowing the hospital's rehabilitative services to coordinate care and share resources more easily. "The ICH brings together our multi-disciplinary and inter-professional teams to better care for our patients. We want to enable our patients to return to the community where they can age in place, or to return to work, where they can continue their active lives," said Dr Eugene Fidelis Soh, Chief Executive Officer, TTSH.
ICH, NCID and CHI – Meeting Tomorrow's Healthcare Needs
Apart from officiating the groundbreaking of ICH, Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Amy Khor also graced the topping-out ceremony for the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and Ng Teng Fong Centre for Healthcare Innovation (NTFCHI) as part of TTSH's annual HealthCity Day celebrations, where important milestones of the Integrated Master Plan are marked. When the NCID and NTFCHI are ready in two years, they will critically boost Singapore's capability in combating infectious diseases and empower the healthcare workforce to innovate and enhance productivity respectively.