By Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital
From 2010, Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital (KWSH) began preparing for its expansion into a Community Healthcare Hub providing a suite of services for the elderly in the region. In midst of the expansion, we noticed that there are care gaps to be filled. While healthcare infrastructure is important, we needed a way to link all the services and healthcare providers, and make it accessible for the elderly population.
To meet this need, we piloted our Community Case Management Service (CCMS) on a small scale in 2018. At the same time, AIC was also piloting their Communities of Care (CoC) projects. We seized the opportunity to commit to being one of the CoC lead agencies in the Serangoon Road vicinity, spanning Towner, McNair, St George’s and Bendemeer neighbourhoods. We named our CoC project ‘Community Management Service’ (CMS) to replace our CCMS.
In the first year of our CMS journey, we took on the mammoth task of conducting a community sensing survey covering over 80 HDB apartment blocks. It is crucial to find out the needs of the elderly to better plan our programmes and services. We also provide case management by collaborating with several agencies in the neighbourhood. This connects the elderly with appropriate services.
The implementation of CMS was not without its challenges. It was difficult to recruit a pool of volunteers to conduct the survey, particularly during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we managed to work with Republic Polyclinic, enlisting their students to help during their school holidays. With the help of about 80 students, we covered the neighbourhood of St George’s and knocked on more than 5,000 doors, with 10% completing the survey. We acknowledge that the survey is no mean feat but represents the first step in the right direction. As we combed the area for the survey, we also identified those who required assistance. This ranged from elderly wanting to know more about current relevant schemes, to referring and matching of befrienders and services.
Moving forward, we will work harder to recruit more volunteers and to partner with agencies like RSVP and Lions Club. As Singapore enters Phase 3 of post-Circuit Breaker re-opening, we certainly hope that more activities will resume, and volunteers are more forthcoming. We hope to complete the survey by this year and have a healthy pool of volunteer resources for befriending.