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Home > About TTSH > News > Tan Tock Seng Hospital partners Families for Life Council to champion healthy, resilient families in Singapore

​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 Annex A.

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 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.

​About TTSH Families for Care (FFC) 

TTSH's Families for Care (FFC) is a dynamic movement whose aim is to champion strong, healthy and resilient families in Singapore in collaboration with the Families for Life Council. FFC will focus on empowering patients to take charge of their health and create platforms for families to be actively engaged in their loved ones care journeys.

Learning Programmes under the FFC 

TTSH FFC's content will focus on physical, mental and social health and promote volunteerism. Programmes will be collaboratively designed with the Families for Life Council to build strong, healthy and resilient families.

Physical Health Disease Management

Wellness/Healthy Living

  • Nutrition
  • Physical activities
  • Medication
  • Health prevention
End of Life / Advanced Care Planning
Living with Frailty and Disability
Care Navigation
Coping with Emergencies
Making Important Decisions
Spiritual / Mental Psychological well-being
Ageing with Grace
Activation Encourage Volunteerism
Activation / Practice Involvement in hospital projects
Social Health Social well-being

Table of Award Winners

Award CategoryAward RecipientAward Recipient
Singapore Patient Caregiver Award (Individual)Mr Chua Joo EeCaregiver for both his parents. His mother suffers from dementia and depression while his father suffers from kidney problem.
Mr Michael WongA colon cancer patient, a caregiver and a volunteer. At 78 years old, he still stands strong and cares for his wife who has dementia.
Mdm Hoong Mee NguekCaregiver for her mother who suffers from dementia. She is determined to not only meet the medical needs but also the emotional and social aspects of her mother.
Singapore Patient Advocate Award (Individual)Mdm Junainah EusopeShe suffered from mental illness but comes out and actively shares her recovery story and the struggles she faced along the way.
Dr Choo Bok AiMedical adviser and co-founder of the Nasopharyngeal Cancer Support Group, Dr Choo not only provides medical advice but emotional and psychological support for cancer patients.
Singapore Patient Support/Volunteer Group Award (Group)Medi MindersThey provide respite care for caregivers of a paediatric palliative care service by engaging patients in customized activities, providing the opportunity of short breaks for caregivers without the need to transfer the child out of the home.
The Tri-Generational HomeCare @ North WestThe Tri-Gen team comprises 222 NUS students and 301 secondary school students and provides companionship and assistance to 108 seniors in their self-care routines. They also conduct house visits after office hours.
IMHopeThis volunteer group made up of working adults and students partner IMH to engage long stay patients there. They engage patients to improve their social and independent living skills.
KK Women's Cancer Support GroupThe group provides counselling sessions, home visits and organise social activities to help gynaecological cancer patients walk the journey with less distress and to adjust to life after diagnosis.
Singapore Patient Engagement Initiative Award (Team-based)No One Dies Alone (NODA)NODA companions accompany patients who are alone in their final moments until they pass on. They deliver concerted efforts to help these patients walk the final lap of their life knowing they were loved and cared for till the end.
Local Exercise Group (LEG)This initiative brings cardiac patients from all walks of life and provides an opportunity for them to foster bonds with one another through sharing their treatment journey and drawing encouragement from each other's success stories.

​Singapore Patient Caregiver Award (Individual)
Mr Chua Joo Ee 

Commitment and steadfastness – Mr Chua Joo Ee embodied these characteristics as he shouldered on the role as the main caregiver for both his parents. His mother was diagnosed with dementia and depression in June 2010 while his father suffered from kidney failure. Having little knowledge of dementia care, Mr Chua picked up basic caregiving skills from scratch so that he could provide daily assistance to his mother. After she suffered two rounds of stroke in 2014, Mr Chua decided to devote his time to caregiving on a full time basis.

Despite the adversities he encountered in life, Mr Chua actively contributes and supports fellow caregivers in the Alzheimer's Disease Association Caregiver Support Group (CSG) since 2010. He also shared his personal journey in providing care to a dementia patient at the World Alzheimer's Day Public Forum in 2012. After undergoing Basic and Intermediate Caregiver Facilitator Training, Mr Chua is currently serving as a facilitator in the Chinese CSG.

Singapore Patient Caregiver Award (Individual)
Mr Michael Wong 

At 78 years old, colon cancer survivor, Mr Michael Wong is still standing strong and full of energy. Undefeated, he is also the main caregiver for his wife who suffers from dementia. Mrs Wong is wheelchair bound and unable to speak and requires help with the day-to-day activities that we often take for granted. Faithfully and tenderly, Mr Wong would take his wife for walks each day and would make the extra effort to talk to her often just to coax a familiar smile from her.

An active and avid Patient Support Group volunteer at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Mr Wong also contributes as a counsellor for patients with the Colon Cancer Support Group since 2013. He accompanies patients for their appointments; visit the wards with flowers with words of encouragement for them. He improves himself by keep abreast with new developments and research regarding colon cancer and dementia, enabling him to provide the necessary emotional support required by both his wife and fellow colon cancer patients.

Singapore Patient Caregiver Award (Individual)
Mdm Hoong Mee Nguek 

Since November 2013, Madam Hoong Mee Nguek has dedicated her time to be a full-time caregiver to her dementia stricken mother, Madam Wong.

Knowing the pains of caring for a loved one with dementia, Madam Hoong has also been an eldersitter with the Alzheimer's Disease Association since 2013. She would often go the extra mile beyond her call of duty to work with healthcare workers so as to ensure that her dementia client's concerns and needs are met.

With the desire to improve dementia care for others, Madam Hoong continues to attend eldersit training programmes to upgrade her caregiving skills and knowledge. She has also volunteered her time to participate in a dementia research project to play a part in advancing knowledge and research in dementia care.

Singapore Patient Advocate Award (Individual)
Mdm Junainah Eusope 

Madam Junainah Eusope has been a dedicated and passionate mental health advocate with the Institute of Mental Health since 2012 where she actively shares her story of recovery and struggles faced with the media. She is also a committee member of the Voices of Experience programme initiated by IMH in 2014 for the purpose of engaging and involving consumers in mental health advocacy, patient care and consultancy work to improve the hospital's services and programmes. Her willingness to share with Berita Harian is most commendable as her story has touched many readers in the Malay community and encouraged them to seek treatment for their mental health issues.

A certified peer support specialist with Club HEAL, a Voluntary Welfare Organisation that reaches out to the Malay community and support those with mental illness, Madam Junainah lends a listening ear and helps her clients create their own individual wellness and recovery plans. Tapping on her flair for art, she teaches volunteers and clients handicraft as part of their therapy. Madam Junainah also organises empowerment camps to boost clients' confidence and to develop their empowerment skills to combat social stigma through self-advocacy.

Singapore Patient Advocate Award (Individual)
Dr Choo Bok Ai 

As the medical adviser and co-founder of the Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC) OneHeart Support Group, Dr Choo Bok Ai hopes to establish a platform that transcends medical treatment to provide emotional and psychological support for cancer patients. T He has spearheaded four annual public forums to raise awareness on early detection and improvement in cure during the Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month among his many contributions to cancer care at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore and Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

A believer in activating and empowering patients, Dr Choo and his team of volunteers comprising mainly of cancer survivors, organise monthly educational meetings on healthy living and management of long term side effects of radiation therapy for the past seven years. He often goes the extra mile by lending a listening ear to patients, answering their questions and sharing inspirational quotes in the NPC OneHeart group. Through his advocacy work, Dr Choo established peer-to-peer support amongst cancer patients with the Befriender programme in 2012, which introduces newly diagnosed patients to cancer survivors, to help them tide through these difficult moments in their lives. He established a cancer blog which he still actively writes in, and is a sought after speaker for cancer talks to large organisations and NGOs.

Believing in this holistic model of cancer supportive care, he further launched another rare cancer support group. The Singapore Sarcoma Support Group was established on 7 May 2016, by Dr Choo, bringing together a multi-disciplinary Sarcoma team at the NCIS in collaboration with the National Cancer Centre, Singapore, KK Women's and Children's Hospital and the Singapore Sarcoma Consortium.

Singapore Patient Support/Volunteer Group Award (Group)
Medi Minders 

Being a caregiver can be an onerous task, which might take a toll on one's mental and physical health.

The Medi Minders of HCA Hospice Care was set up to provide respite care for caregivers of Star PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support), a paediatric palliative care service of HCA Hospice Care. They interact and engage with patients in activities customized according to the individual patient's needs, be it reading or singing. This provides the opportunity for the caregivers to catch up and spend more time with their other children in the family lest they feel neglected. The home respite service allows short breaks for caregivers without the need to transfer the child out of the home.

The group often rises above situations to provide the best care in line with the patient's needs, especially those nearing the end of their lives. Many continue to care and provide bereavement support to the family members left behind when their child passes on.

Singapore Patient Support/Volunteer Group Award (Group)
The Tri-Generational HomeCare @ North West 

The Tri-Generational HomeCare @ North West (Tri-Gen) initiative was developed to support and empower the elderly to age well in the community. It involves these three collaborators, which believe in investing in intergenerational bonding:

  1. Alexandra Health System (AHS) Ageing-In-Place Programme (AIP)
  2. North West Community Development Council (NWCDC)
  3. National University of Singapore's student volunteers

As of September 2016, 222 NUS students and 301 secondary school students from the Tri-Gen team provided companionship and assistance to 108 seniors in their self-care routines. Acting as an extended arm of the AIP community nurses, the volunteers conduct home visits after office hours. Through guidance from the AIP community nurses, the Tri-Gen team has supported patients in medication reconciliation and referrals to social agencies. This has also enabled the elderly patients to engage with younger generations, thereby promoting intergenerational communication and increasing social engagement for the patients.

Singapore Patient Support/Volunteer Group Award (Group)

IMHope is an independent and passionate volunteer group comprising working adults and students as partners to long stay patients at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). The team has adopted Ward 53A and they have dedicated their time to befriend the patients so as to improve their social and independent living skills.

Through their regular interactions with individual patients, the team has also discovered the patients' hidden talents and interests and often empowers these patients by giving them meaningful activities and responsibilities.

IMHope also aims to guide and educate budding volunteers. They seek to destigmatise mental illness and help volunteers see the difference that they can make in the lives of the mentally disadvantaged.

Singapore Patient Support/Volunteer Group Award (Group)
KK Women's Cancer Support Group 

The KK Women's Cancer Support Group, KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), was established in 1991 by nurses and allied health professionals to provide emotional and psychological support to gynaecological cancer patients through counselling sessions, home visits and befriending services. Social activities are also organised to create a platform for patients and their families to interact among each other to enhance their coping skills.

The annual 'Cancer Survivor Celebration' organised by the support group, for instance, celebrates the lives of cancer survivors who have been cancer-free for five years or more. While sharing personal experiences of how they have coped with the illness, the survivors bring hope and strength to newly diagnosed patients.

Singapore Patient Engagement Initiative Award (Team-based)
No One Dies Alone 

As they approach the last leg of their journey in life, hospice patients may feel a great sense of loneliness as they are reminded of their mortality.

Started in 2014, Assisi Hospice's No One Dies Alone programme (NODA), aims to help such patients with little or no family support, by having volunteers journey with them upon admission.

NODA volunteers spend time with patients, often building close bonds and friendships, so that it is natural for them to be the surrogate 'family' to the patients and keep vigil during their final hours.

Through the dedication and commitment of the volunteers, the team has been able to deliver concerted efforts to help these patients walk their final lap in life knowing that they were loved and cared for to the end.

Singapore Patient Engagement Initiative Award (Team-based)
Local Exercise Group 

Exercise regularly and eat right! This is what the Local Exercise Group (LEG) seeks to help cardiac patients adopt as part of their new lifestyle. Formed by the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) Cardiac Rehabilitation Support Group in 2002, this initiative brings cardiac patients from all walks of life together for some light exercise every Sunday morning. It offers the opportunity for fellow cardiac patients to bond with one another and share their own treatment journey and to encourage each other to lead a healthier lifestyle. To help each other eat 'right', the team encourages the patients to eat their favourite local delicacies in moderation by sharing it.

LEG has inspired new cardiac patients to take charge of their health and make the right lifestyle choices. Starting out with less than ten cardiac patients from TTSH, this initiative has grown to a national level initiative, supporting over 30 cardiac patients from various hospitals.

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