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Dementia plans and subsidy support for dementia care

3rd Nov 2020

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms He Ting Ru
MP for Sengkang GRC

Question No. 251 

To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether there is a national dementia plan under development; (b) whether there are any plans to expand testing for dementia for seniors deemed at risk; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider expanding subsidy support to middle-income families for dementia care.

Written Answer

1.      The National Dementia Strategy (NDS) guides the Ministry of Health (MOH), as well as public healthcare institutions (PHIs) and community service providers, in the development and implementation of services to care for persons with dementia, and to support their caregivers. MOH developed the NDS in 2009 in consultation with partners including clinical experts on dementia care. The NDS was reviewed and updated in 2017 to meet the evolving needs of persons with dementia and their caregivers.

2.      Key elements of the NDS include increasing awareness of dementia and promoting early detection of the condition. In this regard, MOH and the Agency for Integrated Care have been working with community service providers to set up community outreach teams, to reach out and look out for seniors exhibiting signs and symptoms of dementia and refer suspected cases for further assessment at the PHIs. As of June 2020, we have set up 48 community outreach teams which have reached out to over 324,000 persons, and we will continue to set up more teams to reach out to more seniors.

3.      Government subsidies are available for dementia care treatments at the PHIs. Singaporeans who need a hospital stay can enjoy government subsidies of up to 80% in subsidised wards. They can also tap on MediShield Life and MediSave to help pay for their bills.

4.      For outpatient treatment, Singaporeans are eligible for the usual subsidies at specialist outpatient clinics in our hospitals as well as at our polyclinics. There are also subsidies at GP clinics under the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS). Dementia is one of the chronic conditions that qualify for chronic CHAS subsidies. Middle-income Singaporeans benefitted when CHAS was enhanced in November last year so that all Singaporeans are now eligible for CHAS chronic subsidies regardless of income, and the annual subsidy cap for CHAS Blue and Orange cardholders with complex chronic conditions was also increased from $500 to $520 and $300 to $320 per year respectively. In all outpatient settings, Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation seniors also receive additional subsidies.

5.      Singaporeans may also make use of their MediSave to pay for outpatient treatment of dementia through the Chronic Disease Management Programme, which allows patients to withdraw up to $500 yearly. From 1 Jan 2021, the withdrawal limit will be increased to $700 for patients with complex chronic conditions. Those aged 60 and above can also withdraw up to $200 under Flexi-MediSave. Singaporeans who have difficulty with their healthcare bills can approach the medical social workers at PHIs for MediFund assistance.

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