Healthcare goes heartland
More community-based healthcare initiatives will be rolled out to ensure people of all ages, particularly seniors, will receive better and more immediate care.
At the Ministry of Health (MOH) Committee of Supply debate yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor announced several initiatives.
- Assisted living, new forms of housing developments that are twinned with care services such as housekeeping and 24/7 monitoring targeted at seniors, which MOH is currently working with other ministries to develop.
- Mental health, in particular dementia, to get more help. The number of Dementia-Friendly Communities (DFCs), meant to create awareness for the disease and give support to affected families, will be expanded from six to 15 over the next three years.
- A community-based pharmaceutical care services will be piloted this year. Pharmacists from retail pharmacies and polyclinics will visit seniors in care facilities and act as community touchpoints to assist them or caregivers with information about their medication for chronic diseases.
- Geographically-based community nursing, piloted last year, to be expanded. There are 130 community nurses deployed by the Regional Health Systems (RHS) across three clusters caring for residents with different needs. This will rise to 200 nurses by end 2019.
- The Care Close To Home programme and the Community Network for Seniors piloted in 2014 and 2016 respectively will both be expanded to serve more seniors.
- More polyclinics - six to eight - will be built to enhance local healthcare services by 2030. Two will be built in Nee Soon Central and Tampines North by 2023, enlarging the network of polyclinics up to 30 to 32 locations. This is on top of the six polyclinics that will be built by 2023.
- Increased funding to ensure community initiatives receive more resources. The Primary Care Networks scheme, which partners general practitioners to deliver team-based care to patients, will receive $45 million a year over the next five years. The Seniors' Mobility and Enabling Fund and the Community Silver Trust will get more funding to expand coverage for consumables, home palliative care and other initiatives.
- Capacities in day eldercare, home-based eldercare and nursing homes will also be increased. - JAN LEE