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4
Jul
2020

Shared care for more patients with stable chronic conditions

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

In Covid-19 times, it is an option for patients with stable chronic conditions who may not want to go to a hospital to have a shared care arrangement between a hospital specialist and a family physician. The Straits Times featured the example of Mr Chua Kee Huat, 70, who is part of such an arrangement with his specialist, Dr Anita Lim, senior consultant at NUH’s Division of Rheumatology and a family physician at Frontier Family Medicine Clinic. With shared care, the specialist can handle the more challenging aspects of the illness, while the family physician will monitor the patient and manage his other medical problems.
 
Ms Joanne Yap, executive director of the NUHS Regional Health System Office, said: “We have hope that the Covid-19 pandemic may drive changes in patient preferences for safety and convenience over choice of a specialist setting only. We intend to ride on the expediency of Covid-19 to expand the number of conditions managed through the shared care programme and to involve more specialists in NUHS-managed hospitals.”
 
NTFGH came on board the shared care programme at the end of last year, and AH will start to enrol patients for the programme from this month, Ms Yap added. Last year, NUHS enrolled 188 new shared programme cases, exceeding the set target of 170. This year, it has raised its target to 200, given its expansion plans ahead.

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4
Jul
2020

如何处理冷冻食物? (How should you handle frozen food?)

新明日报 © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

Dr Louisa Sun, Associate Consultant of Infectious Diseases and Chronic Programme at Alexandra Hospital and Ms Lynette Goh, Principal Dietitian of the National University Polyclinics commented on the importance on handling frozen food properly to avoid bacterial infection. Among the tips shared with readers were avoiding refreezing defrosted food and using an ice pack or cooler bag if the trip from the supermarket to home takes longer than 30 minutes.

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4
May
2020

Stretched but coping: How Singapore’s healthcare system has cranked up efforts to deal with COVID-19

Channel NewsAsia

This report delves into the measures that local public hospitals have adopted to cope with the surge in COVID-19 patient numbers, and precautionary measures for the approaching dengue season.
 
A/Prof Hsu Li Yang, programme lead of infectious diseases at SSHSPH commented that Singapore’s strategies were generally very effective up until mid-March, but the nation was unprepared for the explosion of confirmed diagnoses in the migrant worker population. However, he is confident the nation will be able to cope.
 
NTFGH saw a spike in cases at its emergency department and has had to rapidly re-purpose areas such as its Community Hub (at JCH) and six floors of wards, and extend its fever tent, to cater to the increasing load.
 
AH has turned two empty wards into isolation wards and increased its intensive care capabilities from 4 to 11 beds. It aims to have 20 ICU beds by this month.
 
NUH has been creating surge capacity since January by decreasing elective workloads, reconfiguring its facilities and has created family-friendly areas where parents and children with COVID-19 can be cared for together.
 
Hospitals have also ramped up training to equip nurses with skills needed in the current situation. At AH, Ms Doreen Heng, Assistant Director of Nursing, provides “express course training” to help former ICU nurses refresh their knowledge, and equip nurses from other backgrounds with ICU certification. 

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5
Apr
2020

Bouncing back from SARS with more love for nursing

The Sunday Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

​Ms Noor Melati Ahmad (Nurse Clinician, NUH) and Ms Pauline Chong (Senior Nurse Clinician, AH) who contracted SARS in 2003. They share about their SARS experience and recovery journey, what it’s like fighting COVID-19 on the frontline, and how they combat stress and stay positive.

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23
Oct
2019

Satellite clinic for geriatric care to open at Queenstown Polyclinic

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

Elderly care will be more accessible by December 2019 when Alexandra Hospital opens its first satellite clinic for geriatrics at Queenstown Polyclinic. Visits to the satellite clinic, which is located between Queenstown and Commonwealth MRT stations, will be on a referral basis. It will charge lower-than-specialist clinic rates and provide one-stop geriatric assessment and management for conditions such as dementia, frailty, malnutrition, and fall and fracture risk assessment.


Speaking at AH Care Day 2019 at Tanglin Halt on Sunday, AH Chief Executive Officer, A/Prof Jason Phua said: “It is important to ensure early comprehensive geriatric care in order to reduce downstream complications such as falls, fragility fractures and hospitalisations".

Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), Lee Siew Hui shares how patients are able to benefit from this as healthcare professionals are able to see all of a patient’s conditions in one setting. This makes care more holistic and seamless, especially when APN Lee Siew Hui does house visits for general check-ups and administering wound care – she is able to immediately activate a doctor in the one-care team should there be any medical issues be detected when visiting patients.

Separately, Alexandra Hospital is also set to open two smart wards in the first half of next year which will allow for the deployment of assistive devices, robotics, artificial intelligence with predictive capability, and other solutions such as smart beds with built-in sensing capabilities to predict and alert patients’ conditions.

This month, LTA had also granted permission to allow a first hospital-to-hospital free shuttle bus to ply between National University Hospital (NUH) Emergency Department and AH’s 24/7 Urgent Care Centre from Monday to Friday. AH and NUH are “sibling” hospitals within the same healthcare cluster, and doctors shuttle across both hospitals. Currently, about 50% of AH admissions are through transfers from NUH’s emergency department.

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12
Oct
2019

亚力山大医院药剂师走入社区登门指导病患服药 (Alexandra Hospital pharmacists pay house visits to assist patients in medication compliance)

Others

From January 2019, Alexandra Hospital (AH) rolled out an initiative where hospital pharmacists make house-visits to help elderly patients facing polypharmacy and issues with medication adherence.

AH Pharmacist, Joshua Low shared that the combination of polypharmacy, a lack of understanding and poor memory may cause elderly patients to be confused with their medication dosage and timing which is alarming. A scenario he gave was an elderly mistaking high blood pressure medication for painkillers, which could result in low blood pressure and subsequently a fall.

Studies have shown that 14.5% of the patients who face the issue of polypharmacy are 66 years and older.

Chang Wei Terk, Principal Clinical Pharmacist, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH), shared that for patients who see multiple doctors and are on a variety of medications, it can be challenging to trace the history and side effects of medications that were previously prescribed. This may constitute to the issue of polypharmacy in patients.

Apart from AH and NTFGH, the National University Hospital also has similar initiatives to help their patients cope with Polypharmacy.

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1
Oct
2019

调整生活未 烟绸缪 (Preparing for Haze)

联合早报 © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

Dr Liew Mei Fong, Consultant, Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine at Alexandra Hospital (AH) commented about how the haze may bring about cough chest discomfort and breathlessness for patients with pre-existing allergic rhinitis, asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease. She advised that patients with asthma to ensure they have their regular corticosteroids inhalers and consider a top-up if they feel unwell.
 
Dr Jonathan Ong, Consultant, Division of Neurology at National University Hospital (NUH) and at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) commented about the effects of the haze on migraine sufferers, saying that weather changes is one of the most commonly reported triggers. He advised sufferers to manage their condition through adequate sleep, hydration, exercise and regular mealtimes.

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24
Sep
2019

Singapore hospitals take steps to protect patients from haze; air quality forecast to improve

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

The National University Health System (NUHS) – which manages several hospitals, including National University Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Alexandra Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital – has implemented measures to maintain indoor air quality amidst the haze.

They include shutting windows in the naturally-ventilated patient areas, deploying portable air cooling and purifying units and installing filters to the air-conditioning systems in the buildings to minimise pollutants and smell in the air.

Senior security officer Haron Jasmin, 65, who is currently warded in Alexandra Hospital commented on how he found the air in the ward smells fresh and nice despite having the windows being closed.

Staff who are susceptible to the haze condition will be redeployed to work indoors. At Alexandra Hospital, security personnel wear masks when deployed outdoors for patrolling and the daily frequency for groundskeeping such as portering and landscaping has been reduced.

At NUHS polyclinics, the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with existing chronic respiratory and heart diseases will be given priority for consultations and treatment.

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22
Sep
2019

Air quality back at unhealthy levels, docs issue warning

The Sunday Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

​Dr Jonathan Ong, Consultant, Division of Neurology at National University Hospital (NUH) commented about the effects of the haze on migraine sufferers, saying that weather changes is one of the most commonly reported triggers. He advised sufferers to manage their condition through adequate sleep, hydration, exercise and regular mealtimes.

Dr Liew Mei Fong, Consultant, Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine at Alexandra Hospital (AH) commented about how the haze may bring about cough chest discomfort and breathlessness for patients with pre-existing allergic rhinitis, asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease. She advised patients with asthma to ensure they have their regular corticosteroids inhalers and consider a top-up if they feel unwell.

Special measures have been employed by entities under the National University Hospital System (NUHS) for patients – these include shutting windows, deploying portable air cooling and purifying units and having air-conditioning systems to be fitted with filters to minimise pollutants and smell brought about by the haze.

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16
Jul
2019

Non-urgent care the focus at Alexandra Hospital

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

Specialist and Surgical teams at Alexandra Hospital (AH) are focusing more on non-urgent yet high-volume cases to free up tertiary hospitals’ space to carry out acute, complex operations. Patients who feel medically unwell can visit AH’s Urgent care centre 24/7, where it’s new surgical wing will receive more elective cases which respond to the needs of an ageing population. These include cataract, hearing loss, total knee replacement.
 
The waiting time for the first appointment is reduced to 5 working days and procedures will be carried out as soon as apt. Normally, waiting times for the first appointment is 1 to 2 months. 
 
AH’s surgical facilities will also ramp up to 12 more theatres by 2026 and with the current capacity, AH is able to perform up to 600 electives per month. As part of AH’s model of care, there is no inter-institution transfer for rehabilitative care. Inpatient care is sited at the same bed, same hospital and by the same care team.


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26
May
2019

Facing Dementia Alone

The Sunday Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

Dr Tan Li Feng, associate consultant of the Healthy Ageing Programme at Alexandra Hospital, shares how some people with dementia will find themselves in the quandary of not being ill enough to have to go to a nursing home and yet not being able to live alone safely.
 
She added that that many who are in such situations are often discovered by social workers in the community to be living in increasingly unkempt and unsafe states, and eventually end up in nursing homes or in the care of the state.

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6
May
2019

New programme seeks to develop use of exoskeletons in patient rehab

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

About 36 patients who are unable to walk independently due to neurological diseases are part of a study looking at the effectiveness of using exoskeletons in the rehabilitation process.

The Temasek Foundation – Improving Mobility via Exoskeletons (iMOVE) programme will study patient outcomes and assess the viability and potential of scaling up the use of robotic exoskeletons in rehabilitation care, from the hospital to the community. It will seek to improve the mobility and independence of patients suffering from conditions like strokes and spinal cord injuries, said Professor John Wong Eu Li, chief executive of the National University Health System (NUHS).

Three exoskeletons will be shared by NUHS' five partner sites: Alexandra Hospital, NTUC Health, St Luke's ElderCare and St Luke's Hospital and the Stroke Support Station.

NUHS is the first national health system in Asia to study how advanced exoskeleton technology can improve mobility and rehabilitation outcomes across the care system. A national task force to advance the knowledge and the use of technology in rehabilitation was also formed on 6 May.

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6
May
2019
15
Mar
2019

The benefits of napping – and how to snooze without affecting your sleep at night

Channel NewsAsia

This World Sleep Day, Alexandra Hospital’s Chairman Medical Board, Associate Professor Khoo See Meng, comments on sleep deprivation and how naps may be a better option to catch up on sleep compared to sleeping in on the weekends.
 
He adds that “weekend catch-up sleep may disrupt the circadian rhythm and lead to poor bed time sleep,” and recommends short naps of 15 – 20 minutes as long naps result in slow-wave sleep which is associated with drowsiness and disorientation upon waking.

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15
Dec
2018

New integrated care model for elderly patients under trial

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission

A new model of care, being piloted in Singapore for the first time at Alexandra Hospital, will see patients cared for by the same team from admission to discharge and stay under the same hospital roof.


Called the integrated general hospital model, it aims to better meet the needs of a growing group of elderly patients, many of whom have multiple medical conditions.


Alexandra Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, A/Prof Jason Phua comments that this new model can be a “game changer”.

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