House calls keep hospital at bay

SINGAPORE - The number of elderly Nee Soon East residents being readmitted to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital has dropped by almost two-thirds, thanks to a scheme which sees nurses making regular community visits.

Before the Nee Soon East constituency launched its intervention programme last August, seniors typically returned to the hospital 3.5 times within six months of their first admission.

Currently, they are only returning about 1.3 times. This finding comes on top of figures that show a 62 per cent drop in the number returning after their first admission since September 2011.

Under the Community Nurse Programme, nurses from KTPH make house visits at least three times a month.

They are also stationed at Nee Soon East Community Club twice a week to help elderly residents with their health needs.

So far, 113 in the estate have benefited from the initiative.

There are plans to expand the programme after Yishun Community Hospital opens in 2015, said Mr Patrick Tay, a grassroots adviser at Nee Soon East Grassroots Organisations.

Speaking ahead of a visit to the constituency by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat on July 14, Mr Tay said: "With this programme, there is someone in constant touch with the elderly because some of them are needy and are living alone. This will also give the elderly more discipline to follow up on their own health needs."

The Community Nurse Programme comes under the area's Community Health Mapping programme which aims to benefit at least half of 15,000 residents aged over 50 by 2016.

The constituency will also print a "barrier-free access map" in the monthly Nee Soon East Grassroots Organisations booklet later this month, to help less mobile residents.

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