New mobility park helps elderly reintegrate after leaving hospital

Opening of the JurongHealth Mobility Park at Jurong Community Hospital (JCH), which is equipped with simulated streetscapes and life-sized replicas of the three main modes of public transport.

Elderly patients or those with disabilities can now practise getting on a bus, taking a taxi or the MRT without fear of getting hurt.

The JurongHealth Mobility Park in Jurong Community Hospital (JCH) is Singapore's first outdoor rehabilitative space.

It aims to help patients reintegrate back into the community after their discharge from hospital.

The park has specially designed life-like props, including various public transport vehicles, which will be used to mimic everyday situations for patients. (See graphics, left.)

The New Paper's Think team (thinktnp.com), a commercial creative unit, was commissioned to do the infographic guide shown at yesterday's opening.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ms Low Yen Ling, who officiated the opening, said:

"The mobility park is an example of the many ways that we are trying to help our senior residents in Singapore, especially our Pioneer Generation, to continue to live well and also to live independently."

Public transport operator SMRT sponsored life-sized public transportation models in the form of a decommissioned taxi, a low-floor bus mock-up and a train mock-up.

SMRT president and group chief executive, Mr Desmond Kuek, said: "We hope that patients will enjoy using the facilities, adjust more quickly to using public transportation after their extended illness, accident or surgery."

Mr Foo Hee Jug, chief executive officer of JurongHealth, said: "The last stop (for patients) should be the ability to independently return home and be able to care for themselves."

He added: "The park is designed to mirror an environment which patients and their caregivers are familiar with to ease them back to the community."

JCH outpatient Madam Hamidah, 61, broke her leg after falling down at home last August.

She said: "Using the facilities in the mobility park has increased my confidence and I walk more quickly with better ease too. I can do chores like mopping and cooking at home, and I'm confident of taking public transportation by myself now."

LIFE HUB

Featuring a life-sized mock-up of a three-room HDB flat as well as a concept store under one roof, JCH's LIFE Hub is specially designed to create an interactive safe home environment.

The purpose- built space enhances the learning experience for patients with onset of disabilities.

It will help them adapt better to home settings even before they are discharged from the hospital.

The model home is equipped with homecare aids and equipment and other practical tips to help the disabled or elderly stay safe at home.

Treat bathroom flooring with anti-slip chemical agents

Place commode/urinal by the bedside for convenient night access

Phones with big buttons are better for elderly with low vision

Recommended distance between TV and sofa should not be less than 1.1 m

Place commonly used household items at waist level to minimise squatting and over-stretching

MOBILITY PARK

BUS

The SMRT bus mock-up gives patients and their caregivers the experience of getting on and off a public bus. The therapists will educate them on safety issues.

Those in wheelchairs can press a blue button at the rear entrance. This alerts the bus captain to deploy ramps for easy wheelchair access on and off the bus.

TRAIN CARRIAGE

The therapists will guide and help patients with varying levels of disabilities to familiarise themselves with getting on and off the train.

Train carriages with dedicated wheelchair spaces and functions are also highlighted to create awareness and educate patients.

STEPS & RAMPS

Stairs and ramps with varying gradients of steepness can help patients in wheelchairs, crutches or mobility restrictions to get used to the different conditions.

SENSORY GARDEN

A wheelchair-friendly sensory garden was designed for patients, to heighten their sensory experience of being able to look, touch and smell a variety of plants.

TRAFFIC LIGHTS

Traffic lights have features that give elderly pedestrians and people with disabilities up to 13 seconds more to cross the road.

This function is activated when they tap their senior citizen concession card or Green Man+ card on the reader mounted above the button on the traffic light pole.

TERRAIN WALKWAYS

Walkway surfaces with different terrains, like pebbles, cobblestones, sand and even cement, and raised wooden strips are simulated to help patients and their caregivers learn to manoeuvre around and over these restrictions, both aided and unaided.

TAXI

A decommissioned SMRT taxi allows patients to practise getting in and out of a car. The boot can also be used to educate patients and caregivers on the proper way of stowing the wheelchair neatly and safely.

mheng@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on January 8, 2016.
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