1. Good morning everybody. Thank you very much for inviting me to join you here at the official opening of The Salvation Army Peacehaven Jade Circle and Faith Resident Living Area (RLA).
Care@NH: In-Situ Management of C+ Residents
2. Firstly, I would first like to express my deepest appreciation to Peacehaven and the nursing home (NH) sector, for your tireless efforts in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of your residents and staff, in what has been a very difficult two years and counting.
3. When the Omicron wave hit Singapore early this year, we saw a surge in the number of cases. Nursing homes like Peacehaven inevitably faced serious challenges, but quickly adjusted their operations, and stepped up capabilities to care for their residents who were infected with COVID-19 on site, under the Care@NH initiative. Since February this year, Peacehaven has supported the recovery of more than 200 residents within its premises, helping us to preserve hospital resources for those who need acute care. More importantly, from the residents’ perspective, this Care@NH programme has allowed them to recover comfortably in the NH, under the care of staff whom they are familiar with and who understand their needs. This reduces the stress that seniors, especially those with dementia, may feel with the change in environment if they were admitted to a hospital.
4. Earlier this month, we saw a new infection wave arising from the Omicron subvariants, and we can expect more waves in the future. At the moment, we are in the middle of a COVID-19 wave, and this is the first time we are riding a wave without any significant tightening of our safe management measures. Thus, it becomes even more important that we do not lose steam in our efforts to become a COVID-19-resilient nation. Peacehaven continues to refine their pandemic plans and processes so that their staff will be well-prepared and confident to mount a swift response to whatever the COVID-19 situation calls for. You have scaled up on technologies and system operations to enable telehealth for their residents. You have pivoted towards having more activities and virtual interaction and created segregated spaces for activities to be carried out safely. I strongly encourage all providers in this sector to press on with such efforts, on the assumption that we will have to work hard to maintain our COVID-19 resilience.
Caring for Residents’ Well-Being in the New Endemic Normal
5. Over the past few years and months, to protect the vulnerable, we had to make difficult decisions, one example was tightening the visitor management policy to residential care homes, including NHs. Such measures have taken a toll on the residents’ wellbeing. Peacehaven has been innovating on ways to keep your residents engaged emotionally, in addition to taking care of their physical health.
6. For example, your Christmas celebration amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Inviting guests, having a drumming performance, family members getting involved and seeing their loved ones engage in new activities. This type of approach has been made possible through the ‘Purposeful Play’ concept encouraged by Peacehaven through the activities they run. The Jade Circle Arena will be another dedicated space with a wide range of recreational and fitness stations that integrate fun into exercise. The use of arcade game machines, customised cognitive games, and goal-orientated physical challenges help to keep seniors meaningfully engaged and makes exercise more enjoyable.
7. As you may have picked up from the video, issues to do with confidence and self-esteem are also important and emphasized. With food being a great source of comfort for seniors, Peacehaven holds weekly cooking sessions where they participate in preparing dishes for their fellow residents. All these help to maintain the physical wellbeing of the residents while offering autonomy over their experience.
8. Peacehaven’s dedication towards promoting the wellbeing of residents is evident in the conceptualisation of the Salvation Army Peacehaven Jade Circle and Faith RLA. Designed with a dementia-friendly concept in mind, the two facilities adopt a progressive care model that Peacehaven is known for, to support seniors with dementia to age with dignity. The emotional well-being of our seniors is an important aspect of good quality care and matches the commitment to their physical health.
Encouraging Quality of Care even at End-of-Life
8. Our journey through the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how NHs were able to step up their ability to care for their residents and provide care onsite, giving some sense of a familiar environment and better care experience. The emphasis on emotional and physical health, and the importance of dignity and esteem, all of these represent the high quality of care that we have been striving to maintain and further cultivate. We have to extend this same level of care excellence all the way through the life journey of our residents.
9. For many seniors, quality end-of-life care means being able to spend their last days comfortably in a familiar environment, instead of shuttling between hospitals and emergency rooms. NHs have started on various initiatives that seek to improve the quality of palliative care. For example, Peacehaven has been partnering Changi General Hospital (CGH) over the past five years on a programme known as EAGLEcare. The programme delivers palliative care on-site to residents with advanced illness, with CGH doctors and nurses providing consultations and training, and Peacehaven staff upskilled to provide quality care at the end-of-life stage.
10. Beyond the NH residents, the programme also provides psychosocial support for the next-of-kin. In the Advance Care Planning (ACP) process, trained staff carry out conversations with seniors and their family members about their preferences in their last days. Such conversations, while difficult and sometimes painful, are necessary to give us the confidence to manage and help everyone understand their loved one’s condition better. The family will also feel assured that the NH knows and is committed to honour their loved ones’ preferences. We encourage Peacehaven, and other providers to continue to work with MOH and the healthcare Clusters as we develop new palliative care capabilities and new models of service delivery in the NHs, to ensure that our clients continue to be well cared for at all stages of their care journey.
11. In closing, I would like to express my congratulations to The Salvation Army Peacehaven on the official opening of Jade Circle and the Faith Resident Living Area. I look forward to the continued partnership with The Salvation Army Peacehaven to meet the needs and aspirations of our seniors.
12. Wishing all of you an enjoyable day ahead. Thank you very much.