Construction of what will be Singapore's largest nursing home started last month in Serangoon Road.
The Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital will undergo a $96 million transformation to become an integrated hub for the elderly and the community in two years' time.
The last of the six buildings slated for demolition on its 26,000 sq m site was torn down last week and a new 12-storey building, that will double the hospital's number of beds to 622, will be built.
This move is part of a national plan to raise the capacity of nursing homes in Singapore as the country copes with an ageing population.
Work on at least seven new nursing homes started this year and the plan is to raise the number of nursing home beds to 17,150 by 2020, up from about 10,000 now.
By 2017, the Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital community hub will house a bigger nursing home and senior care centre as well as both traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medical clinics. Home care and hospice services will also be offered.
The plan is to have a one-stop suite of services for seniors. For example, an elderly person who has been discharged from the nursing home can go to the TCM clinic for acupuncture or do rehabilitation exercises at the senior care centre.
Those in the neighbourhood who consult doctors there can also be referred for home care or respite care services.
Said the hospital's chief executive Ow Chee Chung: "Instead of having the traditional nursing home which is gated, we want to open the space to the community to use and keep it vibrant."
The public will be able to have their meals in its foodcourt, go for health screening or do some shopping at its retail spaces. This is because the hospital is bringing in community partners to offer their services on-site.
The nursing home will also have new features such as specialised dementia and neurology care wards.
Each ward will come with a "haze management zone" which has enclosed cubicles equipped with a ventilation system for the comfort of patients who may have breathing problems during the haze period.
Dementia patients will have a garden on the third storey to stimulate their senses and a "memory street" on every floor designed after old places or times to help them reminisce and jog their memories.
Dr Ow said these features were deliberately planned to help patients feel at ease in a 12-storey facility.
The hospital's existing three-storey building, which has served as its facade since 1960, will be conserved to house retail outlets, a foodcourt and private wards.
Three other single-storey colonial buildings now surrounding a Chinese pavilion - built in 1958 - will also be kept for a heritage museum and other uses.
The redevelopment project is undertaken jointly with the Ministry of Health and the Government will pay the bulk of the costs.
This article was first published on Nov 20, 2015.
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