A new community hospital in Outram, scheduled to be completed by 2020, will add 550 beds to Singapore's healthcare system, easing the national bed crunch.
Situated near the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), 500 of the beds in the Outram Community Hospital (OCH) will be for general rehabilitation and sub-acute patients. Another 50 will be for palliative care patients.
Patients will be transferred from acute wards at SGH to this step-down care facility, although OCH will accept patients from other hospitals too. Many old people suffer from conditions like stroke which require rehabilitation at a community hospital before they return home.
This is why the new community hospital is particularly important to the nearby Bukit Merah community. The area has the second-highest number of residents aged 65 and above in Singapore, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at OCH's ground-breaking ceremony yesterday.
The profile of patients visiting SGH is also getting older. Last year, over 41 per cent or 32,000 of SGH's inpatient discharges were elderly patients aged 65 and above, he added.
OCH will house a dialysis facility, so patients warded in the hospital do not need to occupy acute beds for dialysis. Patients discharged from OCH can also come back to the hospital for dialysis.
Said SGH chief executive Ang Chong Lye: "The new model of care at the community hospital will focus on optimising patients' recovery to prepare them to transit back home. With this end in mind, the rehab process starts early while patients are still receiving their inpatient medical treatment so they get a head start in the healing process."
For instance, rooms for practising rehabilitation exercises are integrated into each ward. A rooftop garden will also contain rehabilitation facilities to develop patients' abilities in tasks like getting in and out of vehicles, and gardening.
A portion of the hospital will also be set up like a typical two-room flat, to simulate a home environment where patients can practise daily tasks like making beverages or chopping food with the guidance of a therapist.
These details were revealed at the ground-breaking ceremony, attended by Mr Gan and Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor.
The hospital will also be working with other healthcare partners such as HCA Hospice Care to provide outpatient services.
The construction of OCH comes amid a bed crunch here in recent years, in which patients have been placed in beds along hospital corridors.
The 700-bed Ng Teng Fong Hospital is slated to open in phases from June 30. The Yishun Community Hospital will open in December with 170 beds, and will have 428 beds when fully operational.
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