28 October 2016 - Empowering patients and fostering a culture where patients and their families play an active role in patient care journey were the two key points that participants took away at the Singapore Patient Conference (SPC) organised by Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) today.
In its fourth year of running, the annual conference which also hosts the Singapore Patient Action Awards (SPAA) has cemented its position as a key learning and sharing platform for meaningful conversations to take place between patients, caregivers, volunteers, community partners and healthcare professionals.
One of the main highlights of the event was the launch of TTSH's Families for Care (FFC) programme through a memorandum of understanding with the Families for Life Council. A first of its kind, the partnership will focus on patients being empowered to take charge of their health and creating platforms for families to be actively engaged in their loved ones' care journeys.
Citing that challenges posed by a fast ageing population and change in disease patterns needs a value driven rather than a volume driven healthcare model, Dr Mark Chan, Co-Chairman, Singapore Patient Conference who spearheads the Families for Care (FFC) programme, stressed that, "It is only natural and important for good patient care to transcend the doors of the hospital and partner committed like-minded partners such the Families for Life Council to deliver better care".
Dr Chan, also the Head of Department and Senior Consultant at TTSH's Geriatric Medicine Department, added that the clinical expertise alone is not enough to deliver person-centric care and give best outcomes. "What we need is to also focus on our patients' needs and feelings and create trusted relationships with them and this can only happen if patients feel empowered in their care and their families truly understanding their needs and concerns. TTSH's FFC programme will provide a stepping stone to build social support between families and activate patients in taking charge of their healthcare needs and decisions".
"The hectic pace of modern lifestyles and stringent demands of work are just some of the factors negatively impacting our health," said Mr Ching Wei Hong, Chairman of the Families for Life Council. "To help families tackle such challenges, Families for Life is pleased to partner Families for Care to provide resources and knowledge which will equip Singaporeans with the know-how to manage their health, and support their family members in their own healthcare needs. Through the Families for Care programme, we look forward to families engaging in healthier lifestyles together while strengthening familial bonds in the process."
The launch, presided over by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and the Environment and Water Resources, will pave the way for both programmes to collaboratively design patient and family engagement platforms and create health programmes with an added focus on family participation.
Central to the TTSH FFC programme is the hospital's CareConnect, a one-stop information hub that provides patients and caregivers access to resources within and beyond the hospital. Through CareConnect, FFC's content will focus on physical, mental and social health and promote volunteerism. Programmes will be collaboratively designed to promote a healthy life-style. For the various types of learning programmes under the FFC, please refer to
Speaking of the collaboration with Families for Life Council, Mr Wong See Meng, a volunteer and Co-Chair of the SPC said that the collaboration is a timely one. "As a patient myself, I understand how heartening it can feel when patients are made to feel in control to take charge of their health and when our family members are actively contributing to improve our conditions. For a patient, the greatest comfort is to know that he has the support of his family and caregivers".
Activating Patients and Families – The Singapore Patient Conference
This year's theme of "Activating Patients and Families" saw the conference share inspirational healing journeys and help patients uncover opportunities for active patient and family involvement in different stages of their care journey – from daily health management, to treatment and rehabilitation, to follow-up care in the community and home and end-of-life planning.
This year, the conference also extended its scale beyond the hospital into the heartlands connecting with residents in Toa Payoh, Teck Ghee and Whampoa through interactive activities such as educational talks, health checks and self-care resources.
"The conference hopes to create a deeper understanding of what it takes for patients and their families to be truly engaged, empowered and activated. This means building a relationship with the healthcare team based on trust and playing an active role to lead a healthy life. We hope that with greater engagement and empowerment, the activated patients and families are in turn motivated to contribute and make a positive difference to the community they live in" adds Dr Chan.
Singapore Patient Action Awards
78 year old Mr Michael Wong and 43 year old Mr Chua Joo Ee are two such heroes. Recipients of the Singapore Patient Action Awards (SPAA) they have been instrumental and exemplary in caring for their loved ones and sharing their experiences with other caregivers and patients.
Mr Michael Wong is a patient, a caregiver and a volunteer. As the main caregiver for his wife who suffers from dementia, Mr Wong would take his wife on daily walks and assist her with daily activities. Once a colon cancer patient, he now channels his experience into something positive - by becoming a member of the Colon Cancer Patient Support Group at TTSH.
Mr Chua Joo Ee is the main caregiver for both his parents. His mother was diagnosed with dementia and depression while his father suffered from kidney failure. After his mother suffered two strokes, Mr Chua decided to be a full-time caregiver and have been actively participating in the Alzheimer's Disease of Association Caregiver Support Group. (Please refer to
Annex B for the full list of award recipients.)
11 esteemed recipients comprising caregivers, volunteers and volunteer groups from over 57 nominations were honoured at the SPAA for impacting and enhancing the quality of lives of patients in Singapore. For the second year running, the award is organized by TTSH in recognition of healthcare institutions' commitment in co-creating positive patient experiences. The SPAA which was opened up for nationwide participation received an overwhelming response for its four award categories: Patient Caregiver, Patient Advocate, Patient Support and Volunteer Group and Patient Engagement Initiative.
About Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)
TTSH is one of Singapore's largest multi-disciplinary hospitals with 172 years of pioneering medical care and development. The hospital has 45 clinical, allied health and pharmacy departments as well as 16 specialist centres. It also has three institutes that are spearheading care, research and innovations in geriatric medicine, infectious diseases and ophthalmology. Powered by more than 8,000 healthcare staff, TTSH sees over 2,000 patients at its specialist clinics and some 460 patients at its emergency department every day. TTSH is part of the National Healthcare Group, providing holistic and integrated patient care. With a strong quality culture steeped in patient safety, TTSH constantly challenges itself to provide faster, better, cheaper and safer care for patients. To achieve this, the hospital keeps abreast and believes in investing in its staff, facilities, medical technology and system improvements. In recognition of its commitment to excellent patient care and its comprehensive range of quality healthcare services, TTSH has been awarded the ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification as well as the prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation.
About Families for Life
Families for Life's vision is to build strong and resilient families because that makes for stronger communities and better individual well-being.
We Listen. We listen to the issues that Singaporean families are facing.
We Explore and Promote. We bring people and organisations together to create platforms for family bonding and to engage Singaporeans in conversations about families.
We Voice. We voice out concerns that people have on family issues and continue this conversation with our partners and the community.
The Council is chaired by Ching Wei Hong, Chief Operating Officer of OCBC Bank. Visit us here
About Families for Care
Engage: The FFC will engage patients and families to better understand their needs and feelings and build familial relationships.
Voice: The FFC will bridge conversations and build active partnerships with healthcare community to improve the care experiences of our patients and families.
Empower: The FFC will bring the community and healthcare partners together to co-design learning platforms and resources tailored to the needs of patients and their families
Inspire: The FFC will share inspirational stories and experiences of patients and caregivers to motivate others to make a positive impact within their families and the community.