Singapore aims to nearly double the number of long-term care centers to 220 by 2025 as the Ministry of Health (MOH) expands the scale and scope of services for such centers.

MOH also plans to double the number of beds in nursing homes to more than 31,000 over the next 10 years.

Between 2010 and 2020, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the Ministry of Health increased capacity by about 9,600 to 70% to 16,200 beds on Monday morning (June 13).

He spoke at the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC)’s annual Community Care Work Plan Seminar, a hybrid event held in Pan Pacific Singapore. AIC was established by the government to coordinate elderly care services.

As Singapore faces an aging population and needs to take care of more older people, the Elderly Care Center will relieve pressure from acute care hospitals and elderly homes, he said.

The pool of community care providers also needs to be strengthened.

To date, there are 119 long-term care centers in Singapore.

It is a reliable point for the elderly and provides services such as information and referrals on active aging programs, friendships and care services.

However, the scope of the elderly care center will be expanded, Mr. On said.

Ultimately, each center will be responsible for 1,000 to 4,000 older people and will need to work with community networks such as grassroots organizations and general practitioners (GPs) to address the health and social needs of older people. ..

Elderly people now visit GPs or polyclinics once every few months due to chronic illness. Between these visits, they can go to these centers to participate in health-related activities or enroll in an active aging program.

However, MOH hopes that these centers will help monitor vital signs for the elderly, perform simple health checks, and collaborate with other services and healthcare providers, On said.

Population growth due to aging has had a significant impact on the community care sector, adding that the sector has grown significantly over the years and will continue to grow.

The Minister of Health also said there was a need to expand quality end-of-life care in homes, centers and hospice.

“Over the last few years, we have been testing and integrating new care models between hospitals and homes. More must be done for palliative care to become more established in the community. “Mr. On said.

And nursing homes will be an important partner.

“Nursing home residents may not want to go back to the end of their lives through multiple transitions to the hospital, as they can be very painful,” he said.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung speaks at AIC’s Annual Community Care Work Planning Seminar on June 13, 2022. Photo: LIANHE ZAOBAO

MOH works with nursing homes to manage end-of-life journeys, including responding to resident health symptoms, promoting pre-care plans, and providing emotional support to residents and their families. Improve your skills and self-confidence.

In his speech, Mr. On cited human resource constraints as a major concern for community care providers. This sector needs to not only attract new staff, but also retain them.

First, salaries must be competitive. MOH’s Community Care Salary Improvement Campaign has promised approximately $ 290 million to raise wages for staff in community care organizations from 2020 to 2023.

“This will allow their salaries to remain competitive with the public health sector and the market,” On said.

Second, MOH and AIC will continue to invest in sector labor skills development. AIC’s learning institutions are expanding their services and have access to over 18,000 training locations annually.

Third, MOH is also committed to transforming existing roles and increasing work productivity and value through the redesign of jobs for non-clinical talent and digitalization.

MOH is embarking on a community care digital transformation plan that will help eliminate repetitive and administrative tasks, On said.

Finally, Singapore still needs to rely on foreign health workers. This helps to complement the local workforce.

“I strongly believe in using technology and digital health to improve preventive care, but community care is essentially a very high five sector. Physical human resources into technology and digital solutions. There are limits to what can be replaced, “said On.

He also emphasized that the community care department needs to address Covid-19.

Pandemics have a significant impact on older people, with disproportionate responsibilities for the community care sector. He said the sector must be ready to deal with new waves of infection, new concerns, and even new pandemics.

Since February, more than 4,700 nursing home residents infected with Covid-19 have been cared for in the field.

Currently, over 80% of nursing homes, including two hospitalized hospice, are under the Care @NursingHome program.

Mr. On added: “MOH wants to work with the rest of the house to make sure everything is ready by the time the next wave arrives.

“For residents at high risk or in more complex conditions, they are still guaranteed to be transferred to an acute hospital.”

Nursing homes also need to continue to actively accept patient transfers from acute care and community hospitals. Since April, the sector has received approximately 300 new hospitalizations each month from acute care and community hospitals.

Most importantly, Singapore needs to ensure that older people get booster shots.

For people over the age of 60 who have not received the Primary Series, the incidence of serious illness and death after Omicron infection is nearly 4 in 100. The incidence of unboosted people after 9 months of the primary series is 1 in 100. For boosted people, the incidence drops to 3 in 1,000.

“Therefore, Omicron is a dangerous disease for older people who have not been fully vaccinated and boosted,” said On.

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