Come help make our patients’ hospital stay a little better. Join us as an Alex Advocate! The hospital also welcomes pro bono performances on weekday afternoons from 3pm for one hour. For enquiries and registration, please email AH_Advocates@nuhs.edu.sg.
They have belted out songs in the Alexandra Hospital (AH) wards during the festive periods and quietly sat with our patients to ensure they are never alone. They are our Alexandra Hospital Advocates (Alex Advocates), enthusiastic and committed individuals who have joined us as our friend and advocate and given their heart, time and resources in making our patients feel a little less anxious during their stay.
Enrolled under the hospital’s Alex H.E.A.L.” (Help, Engage, Assist Lives) programme, our Alex Advocates come from all walks of life from students, to working adults and retirees but all with a heart for our patients’ wellbeing. To date we have the privilege of having over 60 such volunteers as part of the AH family.
61-year-old Azman Bin Abdullah is one of the most active Alex Advocates since AH came under the National University Health System (NUHS) in June last year. In his time with AH patients, Azman hopes to assist those in need and contribute back to society while learning how to better care for the elderly and the needy, as well as provide support to caregivers and the families. Azman brings with him rich experience from volunteering with other public healthcare institutions and Voluntary Welfare Organisations such as the Singapore Red Cross and National Crime Prevention Council.
Humble and with a strong passion to learn about caregiving and helping others, he underwent training by AH to support the care team in the wards, such as transferring inpatients to wheelchairs, portering them to the communal areas in the wards, engaging the elderly patients by spending his free time with them at the bedside as a minder and befriender, and bringing cheer to them during special festivals and celebrations in the wards, such as Mid-Autumn Festival, Christmas and Chinese New Year.
Rain or shine, Azman would come, sometimes, dressed up in festive garb to lend cheer and entertainment to patients or as a life-sized mascot, never mind beads of perspiration, and filled with enthusiasm which could bring smiles on faces. “I enjoy spending time, joking with, interacting with and engaging the senior patients in the wards and colouring with them, to keep them occupied and agile in their speech and thoughts. It’s important that they are engaged and not bored, which could worsen their cognitive abilities. Some of them do not have family nor visitors. I’m glad my company can lift their spirits and hopefully motivate them to feel better,” shared Azman who can converse in Malay, English, Mandarin and simple conversational dialect.
“I started out with helping out at MP Meet-The-People sessions and other grassroots events. I was also part of the parent support groups of my fourchildrengrowingupinprimary and secondary schools. These piqued my passion in volunteering in the community and even brought me across the seas to work with United Nations from 2000 to 2002 at East Timor mission as Fire Chief and then to Africa and Congo till 2006 at worn-torn areas of Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Zimbabwe.
Azman is also one of our hospital’s advocates involved in discharge planning and patient activation in order to empower them to be confident of taking care of themselves independently at home. Outside of his security work and shifts, whenever it is his day off, he spends time at AH and even applies for leave to carry out random acts of kindness at the wards. “It is my privilege to be abletohelpandcheerthemon.Itis depressing enough to be sick and more so one is alone to face it. Life is like a candle and when we have got hold of it, we should want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations of carers. I am happy when I help others.”
Aside from regular volunteers like Azman, the hospital also has an arts- in-healing programme as part of Alex H.E.A.L, where schools, corporate groups and special interest and voluntary welfare organisations can come into our wards to perform through music, song and performing arts to bring cheer to our patients.
Since the National University Health System (NUHS) has taken over AH, the hospital has had many performers come through our doors and made the hospital a much livelier place for our patients and their family members.