SINGAPORE - The new Centre of Geriatric Medicine at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) is not just for elderly patients, but also a resource stop for their caregivers.
A section of its centre has been set aside for caregivers to go to for information and tips on how to manage various health conditions.
Among the features is a mock-up of a typical home, with examples of modifications that can help the elderly live more independent lives.
The $3.8 million centre, which has been operating since March, officially opened yesterday.
Associate Professor Chin Jing Jih, who is divisional chairman of integrative and community care at TTSH, said that these elements did not come about by chance.
"For the patients, we want to continue to cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always," he said. "For the caregivers... we want to teach, partner and empower them."
The new centre is designed to be as elder-friendly as possible.
The pharmacy and therapy areas are located within the centre, cutting down the distance patients need to travel.
Prof Chin estimated that nearly a quarter of the centre's patients suffer from dementia. About half rely on wheelchairs to get around.
There is also a "sensory garden" with plants and chirping birds to engage the senses of cognitively impaired patients.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who spoke at the opening ceremony, commended these features.
"We must deliver care that meets the needs of our seniors, who often do not have just one medical condition, but multiple conditions," he said.
"We must ensure that care is integrated, person-centric, and appropriate for the patients."
TTSH's Institute of Geriatrics and Active Ageing - which focuses on research and education - has signed an agreement with the Joint NTU-UBC Research Centre of Excellence in Active Ageing for the Elderly, which will see TTSH's geriatrics centre become a test bed for new technologies.
The outfit is a collaboration between Nanyang Technological University and the University of British Columbia.
"Positive results from our research and innovation will eventually impact geriatric practice... thus leading to improved care for patients," Prof Chin said.
This article was first published on July 26, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.