Dr Gerard Ee, Chairman, Agency for Integrated Care
Mr Tan Kwang Cheak, Chief Executive Officer, Agency for Integrated Care
Ladies and gentlemen,
This year’s Community Care Sprint Forum 2022 is special. Over the past 10 years, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) organised the biennial ‘Quality and Productivity Festival’ which focuses on uplifting efforts on productivity and quality in the Community Care sector. This year, the event has been rebranded. It will encompass four key enablers: Staff development, Productivity, Improvement ‘N‘ Technology enablement. The aim is not only to support the Community Care sector’s continued emphasis on productivity and quality, but also to reflect the criticality and synergy of driving people development, productivity improvement, process innovation and digitalisation within our sector.
2. This year’s theme ‘Reimagining the Future of Community Care’ aims to encourage us to explore new ways of delivering quality care in partnership with our community and seniors in an evolving health and social care ecosystem.
3. We will also celebrate the achievements of the recipients of this year’s Community Care Excellence Awards (CCEA). We deeply appreciate your exemplary service and dedication in delivering quality care to your clients through various initiatives. Since the introduction of the awards in 2014, close to 2000 individuals and teams have been recognised for service excellence, and today, out of 626 winners, we will present 18 CCEA gold awards.
Recognising Contributions Despite Challenges during the COVID-19 Pandemic
4. It has been more than two years since COVID-19 struck. In all this time, I am heartened to see how community care organisations and their staff have remained resolute in the face of challenges and have gone above and beyond their duty for their clients.
5. One of the recipients for the CCEA Team Award is the team at Thye Hua Kwan (THK) Elderly & Home Care Services. While seniors were encouraged to stay home during the pandemic, it was also important that they did not suffer from other underlying health issues which would weaken their body’s ability to fight diseases. THK Elderly & Home Care Services set up ‘Nurse Posts’ at various THK Active Ageing Centres (AAC) and Senior Activity Centres (SAC) island-wide, to make it more convenient for seniors to receive health assessments, such as blood glucose testing for the early detection of chronic illnesses. This also helped to reduce their visits to different healthcare institutions. THK also worked with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to offer COVID-19 vaccination to seniors, benefitting more than 400 of them.
6. Among the various challenges that came along with COVID-19, was the difficulty in communication between nurses and dementia patients due to mask-wearing. But this did not deter Julia, a senior nurse who works with dementia patients from the Yishun Community Hospital, who is receiving the individual gold award today. As it was exceptionally difficult for dementia patients with hearing impairment to understand instructions, Julia remained empathetic towards their needs. She approached her patients gently and ensured that they were calm before proceeding with treatment. Given that the number of people with dementia is set to increase, we can all learn from Julia to be more empathetic to build a more caring and inclusive society for persons with dementia.
Reimagining the future of Community Care with Healthier SG
7. Over the next few days, the forum will touch on key topics such as digitalisation, healthcare workforce and community network – which are in line with this year’s theme – ‘Reimagining the Future of Community Care with Healthier SG’. These discussions are crucial as it would help us rethink how we can shape the future of Community Care together, through enhancing care delivery via digital means, building a future-ready workforce, and strengthening of our community partnerships.
Shaping the future of Community Care via digitalisation
8. Among the many lessons we learnt during this pandemic is the importance of establishing digital capabilities in healthcare, particularly in improving workflows, efficiency, and how we deliver patient care. Therefore, in June this year, AIC launched the Community Care Digital Transformation Plan (CCDTP) to boost the adoption of technological solutions among CCOs to better serve clients, enhance staff productivity and job satisfaction. Community care organisations can tap on the Productivity and Digitalisation Grant to defray the costs of obtaining technological solutions, receive consultancy services on digitalisation, as well as send staff for training, supported by AIC’s Learning Institutes (LIs) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG).
Shaping the future Community Care via building a future-ready workforce
9. Secondly, as we work towards building a future ready workforce, we need to consider how can we maximise the potential of every individual healthcare worker, as they are at the heart of delivering care to patients and the community. AIC and MOH have embarked on Job Redesign of new, higher value-adding roles that combine a wider range of skills and functions for enhanced job satisfaction and progression. Specifically, the Community Care Associate is a re-designed role that combines selected skillsets of Healthcare Assistants, Nursing Aides and Therapy Assistants. AIC is in the second phase of the Job Redesign pilot, with up to eight community care organisations that will adopt the redesigned roles. The full roll-out of this initiative is expected to be completed by 2024.
10. Apart from developing new roles, we have to note that service delivery in healthcare is a complex process involving information processing, evaluation of evidence, and application of relevant knowledge. Therefore, ensuring staffs are equipped with knowledge involving care delivery, safety, and organisational excellence is also crucial in building a future-ready workforce. I am pleased to announce that AIC has launched two ‘Good Practices Handbooks’ to empower employees to provide care and supplement service requirements. The handbooks would be available in both physical and soft copies, would benefit community care staff in managerial and supervisory roles
Shaping the future of Community Care via community partnership
11. Last but not least, the role of community partnerships, will be even more critical as part of our Healthier SG strategy. With the rising needs of our ageing population, community care organisations will take on larger roles as part of this nationwide strategy on preventive health. I am glad that AIC is piloting the Communities of Care (CoC) initiative, where each pilot CoC is anchored by an active aging centre and partnered with other service providers in the area to provide a comprehensive suite of healthcare services in the community. For instance, Montfort Care in Marine Parade works closely with a range of service providers including Marine Parade Polyclinic, St Luke’s ElderCare, and GP clinics to care for residents living in the vicinity with chronic health conditions and complex social needs. I look forward to seeing how care services can be further integrated so that our senior’s care journey can be made more seamless as they progress through the care continuum.
12. In closing, I would like to thank all staff in our healthcare family for your contributions and dedication to the community care sector. Let us embrace challenges even as we push boundaries to ensure that care delivery remains relevant to the evolving needs of our seniors.