Yishun Community Hospital (YCH) has opened and started admitting patients, operator Alexandra Health System (AHS) announced on Monday (Dec 28). The 428-bedded hospital provides rehabilitative, sub-acute, dementia and palliative care, it aded.
The S$320 million hospital is opening in phases, starting with five subsidised wards with 170 beds. Outpatient facilities such as the Day Rehabilitation Centre will open in the third quarter of 2016, said AHS. The hospital also houses the national Geriatric Education & Research Institute, which will open in the second half of next year (2016).
Part of the northern healthcare cluster, the YCH is linked directly to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH). This means that patients can be transferred seamlessly between the two hospitals for the next stage of care in their recovery, and can be admitted from other acute care hospitals and nursing homes, AHS said.
The two hospitals’ clinical teams are working closely together to coordinate care so patients can be transferred from KTPH to YCH earlier, thereby freeing up more beds for acute patients, it added.
HOSPITAL DESIGNED TO "ENCOURAGE INDEPENDENCE AND CONFIDENCE"
The philosophy of care at YCH is to help patients regain their independence, both physically and mentally, the public healthcare system said in a press release.
“This is a ‘wel-going’ hospital - we help patients get well and go home as soon as possible,” said AHS Group Chief Executive Officer Liak Teng Lit.
“That’s why rehab is not confined to the gym. We want our patients to spend their waking hours out of bed and doing things for themselves as they will when they go home. This hospital was built with that end in mind.”
AHS added: "Small touches enable patients to do simple things for themselves so they can start regaining their independence from the moment they are warded."
For example, the call bells at each bed have controls for the ceiling fan so patients can turn the fan on and off without assistance. In rehabilitation wards, meals are not served in bed but in the communal dining areas, which AHS said encourages independence and confidence while fostering social interaction between patients as they recover.
To encourage patients to leave their beds and walk around, the rehabilitation wards have balconies with pleasant views, according to the regional healthcare system.
In addition, rehab gyms are spread across four floors so that each gym can target different patients’ needs. This also makes it easier for patients to attend their rehab sessions and encourages them to do their exercises at anytime of the day, it said.
The hospital has also implemented measures to ensure patients and their caregivers know how to take their medication correctly when they go home. Noting that many elderly patients take multiple medications, which can be confusing, AHS said bedside cabinets at Yishun Community Hospital have a lockable drawer for patients to store and manage their own medication under the supervision of a nurse.
STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS SLEPT OVER TO TEST FACILITIES
More than 100 staff and volunteers had a sleepover at the hospital one week before it opened, in order to test the facilities, AHS said.
This group, which gave useful feedback on issues that they and others could face when staying at this hospital, included older people and those with experience in caring for family members at home. Staff are making adjustments to further improve the facilities based on their feedback, the healthcare cluster said.
Dr Pauline Tan, YCH Chief Executive Officer said: “Our care does not end when our patients leave. We want to ensure they cope well and stay healthy once they are home to prevent complications and readmission."
Dr Tan added that patients who need additional medical help and support are referred to a community care team, Ageing-In-Place (AIP) Programme, before they are discharged.
Part of AHS’ integrated healthcare system, the AIP team includes doctors, nurses and therapists, and focuses on caring for the elderly and chronically sick so they can better manage their conditions at home, it said.