Speech by Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health, at Salvation Army's Red Shield Appeal Luncheon, 15 Aug 2014

Mr S Dhanabalan, Patron of The Salvation Army, Singapore

Mr Bill Foo, Chairman of The Salvation Army Advisory Board, Singapore

Colonel Lyndon Buckingham, Territorial Commander, Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar Territory

HE Bernadette Cavanagh, New Zealand High Commissioner

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

 

Introduction

1.            A good afternoon to all of you. I am delighted to join you today at the Red Shield Appeal Luncheon - an annual event organised by The Salvation Army to raise funds to serve the underprivileged in the community. I understand that many of you here are long-time supporters and volunteers of the organisation. Thank you for your dedication and commitment.

2.            The Salvation Army Singapore has grown significantly since its establishment in 1935. Today, The Salvation Army Singapore is a well-known and respected charity, running a network of health and social services to serve the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community. This includes healthcare services like the Peacehaven Nursing Home and Peacehaven Bedok Multi-Service Centre. This would not have been possible without the passion and dedication of its leaders, staff, supporters and volunteers.

Developing Aged Care for Our Seniors

3.            Anticipating the increase in demand for aged care that will come with a fast ageing population, MOH has put in place plans to ramp up aged care capacity and to enhance the quality and affordability of aged care. We aim to increase nursing home capacity to 17,000 beds by 2020. MOH has also introduced enhanced standards and developmental guidelines to improve the quality of aged care services. We have also made aged care more affordable by introducing enhanced subsidies for the intermediate and long-term care sector since Jul 2012. Two-thirds of households are now eligible for these subsidies.

4.            Voluntary Welfare Organisations like Peacehaven will continue to play an important role in supporting our efforts to provide better care for seniors as they grow old. Peacehaven is an outstanding nursing home provider that serves patients with dedication, while constantly seeking to innovate to enhance care standards and outcomes. Its commitment to innovation and improvement is reflected in its collaboration with MOH on many pilot programmes aimed at providing better care for our patients.

5.            For example, Peacehaven Nursing Home was a pioneer of the Transitional Convalescent Facility (TCF) pilot project. Started in 2011, the TCF provides rehabilitation services for seniors who are discharged from the hospitals, to allow them to regain enough functionality before returning home. I understand from the preliminary results of the pilot that Peacehaven was able to discharge more than 65% of their TCF patients back to the community after four months or shorter in the programme. This was made possible because of Peacehaven’s strong discharge planning and the various community support programmes that have been put in place to help patients even after they are discharged back to the community. Preliminary results of AIC’s surveys with TCF patients and their caregivers have also been very encouraging. More than 90% of caregivers surveyed shared that they were satisfied with the programme and with the training received at Peacehaven.

6.            Peacehaven also works closely with us on initiatives to strengthen the quality of nursing home care. For example, Peacehaven was part of the Nursing Home Standards Workgroup and co-created with us, the set of Enhanced Nursing Home Standards (ENHS) that was announced earlier this year. The Home has also taken the lead in participating in AIC’s voluntary baseline assessments to identify areas for improvement to meet the ENHS in time to come. In addition, Peacehaven is also part of the workgroup developing an interpretation guide for the ENHS, to help nursing home providers better understand how the enhanced standards can be implemented.

7.             Recognising the importance of manpower capabilities in patient care, Peacehaven also puts much emphasis on staff training and development. Peacehaven is currently an Approved Training Centre for ITE Skills Certificate (ISC) courses in the areas of Home Care, Dementia Care and more recently, Rehabilitation Care. Till date, Peacehaven has conducted more than 20 batches of classes, with some 450 participants. Peacehaven also taps on the Ministry’s Health Manpower Development Programme (HMDP) to send their staff to advance their skillsets and expertise. Till date, Peacehaven has sent 8 staff for training under the HMDP scheme, in areas such as counselling, gerontology and dietetics. 3 more staff are currently undergoing training. In addition, I understand that recently, a team from Peacehaven also attended a series of Design Thinking Workshops organised by the Eastern Health Alliance (EHA), to learn about the various ways to approach work problems and to find holistic, novel and sustainable solutions that will improve productivity in its facilities. I applaud Peacehaven’s efforts to develop its manpower capabilities and encourage Peacehaven to also share your expertise and best practices with other providers.

Greater Support from Donors

8.            VWOs like Peacehaven will require the support of individuals and corporations to continue their good work. Peacehaven has benefited much over the years from organisations like Lien Foundation, Singapore Navy and in recent years ConocoPhillips. I am heartened by your generosity and I want to encourage even more to come forward to share your heart and resources so that Peacehaven can provide even better care for our seniors.

9.            To encourage greater charitable giving, the Government is doing our part by introducing the Community Silver Trust Fund (CST) in 2011 to provide a dollar-for-dollar matching grant to VWOs providing intermediate and long-term health care services. I am glad to share that to date, around $1.5 million has been disbursed to Peacehaven from the Community Silver Trust Fund.

10.         Peacehaven has put the matching grants to good use to improve care for its clients. I understand that late last year, through the CST matching of funds from the Lien Foundation, Peacehaven was able to acquire health and fitness equipment that is specially designed for seniors to promote independence and mobility and reduce falls and incontinence. I am glad to learn that the equipment had led to an improvement in strength scores and the lean body mass for the clients. Some of Peacehaven’s clients also reported that the exercise had also improved their mental well-being.

Conclusion

11.         Peacehaven is today an established aged care provider in Singapore. MOH will continue to support and collaborate with Peacehaven to bring better care to our seniors. We also hope that you and many others in Singapore can join us in contributing towards making Singapore a good place for our seniors to age in.

Thank you.

 

    Print  
  Share  
  Return to Top