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First phase of Yishun Community Hospital begins

SINGAPORE — Boasting features that encourage patients to be more independent and that allow nurses to be more productive, the S$320 million Yishun Community Hospital received its first patients today (Dec 28).

SINGAPORE — Boasting features that encourage patients to be more independent and that allow nurses to be more productive, the S$320 million Yishun Community Hospital received its first patients today (Dec 28).

Four 20m bridges link the new community hospital to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) next door, enabling patients to be transferred easily for the next stage of their recovery. From February next year, it will begin accepting patients from other hospitals. 

The new hospital, which also houses the national Geriatric Education and Research Institute, started with 170 beds in five subsidised wards yesterday and will be opening the remainder of its 428 beds progressively. Outpatient facilities, such as the day rehabilitation centre, are scheduled to open next year. 

Features that encourage patients to do simple things for themselves include call bells at each bed that have a control to switch the ceiling fan on and off. Bedside cabinets with a lockable drawer allow patients to store and manage their medication under the supervision of a nurse, while communal dining areas in the rehabilitation wards aim to encourage social interaction during meals. The hospital’s rehab gyms are spread across four floors to target various patients’ needs. 

“We want our patients to spend their waking hours out of bed and doing things for themselves as they will when they go home. This hospital was built with that end in mind,” said Mr Liak Teng Lit, group chief executive of Alexandra Health System, which manages KTPH and Yishun Community Hospital.

The community hospital is also the first to have ceiling hoists that allow patients to be strapped in and transported between their beds and the bathroom via a remote control operated by nurses. Instead of five nurses needed to manually carry a patient to the bathroom previously, only one or two nurses are needed with the hoist. Besides increasing productivity, the hoists prevent back injuries and muscle aches for the nurses. The hospital’s five hoists — four in the wards and one in the gym — cost about S$160,000 in total.

Heart patient Sulaiman Kamsani, 58, who was among the first 12 patients admitted, said he liked the hospital’s “very good” and “very quiet” environment.

Speaking to reporters at the opening yesterday, Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat said his ministry has added more than 900 hospital beds, comprising 498 acute beds and 421 community hospital beds, this year and has ramped up the number of nursing homes and primary-care options for patients.

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