By Tan Tock Seng Hospital
As part of Singapore's Phase 2 reopening, activities in our community are gradually resuming. Our Central Health partners have been closely watching the situation while getting their centres ready to welcome the seniors.
The decision to reopen the centres varies and once the decision to reopen is made, the centres have to make sure that safe management measures are in place and followed closely. This is important as most of the centres are working with seniors who are at higher risk of developing serious health complications if infected with COVID-19.
Our Community Health Teams (CHTs) have been in touch with the partners to learn more about their centres' reopening plans and to support them on safe management measures. Some of the partners that we have worked closely with for their centres' reopening are Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities and PeaceConnect.
Keeping the environment clean and safe
Our CHT and Thye Hua Kwan Senior Activity Centre – Toa Payoh (THK SAC@TPY 31) had virtual discussions on enhancing the safe management measures for the centre. During these discussions, THK SAC@TPY 31 shared their activity plans and photos of their premise with safe measures in place.
The focus of the discussions was on keeping the seniors safe while the centre conducts their activities, these ranged from general infection control to serving meals at staggered timing to prevent cross infection. THK SAC@TPY 31 paid close attention to details, checked in with the CHT to ensure that the cleaning disinfectant's active ingredients used were effective in keeping their environment clean and safe for the seniors.
Keeping the safe distancing and safe entry
Over at the Crawford-North Bridge area, we shared pointers with PeaceConnect. With more than 2,000 seniors aged 60 years and older under the care of PeaceConnect Cluster Support and two Senior Activity Centres, the Cluster Manager had proactively drawn up preparatory plans as early as mid-May on seats allocation and segregating activities areas in different parts of the centres. In line with safe distancing advisories from MOH-AIC, she drew up separate entrances for seniors to move in and out, especially during meal times.
The Cluster Manager communicated the safe distancing and safe entry protocols with the elderly members as centres need to limit the number of seniors attendance for their activities. Clear communications with the seniors will allow them to understand the good intent behind the measures and the perceived equity in allocating their buddies to attend the same activity session with them.
PeaceConnect went a step further by setting up protocols for 'hot zones' where their client-facing staff could be well protected with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) while rostered to handle reception duties. They have also set up a cooling and holding area which serves as an isolation room for residents when needed.
The adaptation of the new normalcy and changes are not limited to the partners. Through the conversations with the partners, CHT also learned their new way of operating and potentially to modify the CHT's services to better support the seniors in the community together.
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Issue 3: August 2020