Transcript of Speech by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Official Opening of Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio on 11 May 2019.
Mr Chua Thian Poh, Chairman, Ren Ci Hospital
Board of Directors, Advisors & Partners of Ren Ci
A very good morning to all of you.
I am very happy to be back here at Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio once again in order to join you for its official opening.
It is a joyous occasion, as Thian Poh said, 双喜临门because we also are celebrating Ren Ci Hospital’s 25th anniversary and 25 years of fruitful partnership between Ren Ci and the public sector to deliver community healthcare services.
Singapore’s healthcare delivery framework is quite unusual in the world. Government plays a big part. It provides primary and inpatient care through our hospitals and polyclinics. At the same time, there are community care providers like Ren Ci which are very important in offering step down care. They enable Singaporeans to be cared for in familiar surroundings near home, and in the company of people they know and love. This makes care services more accessible, gives comfort to patients and caregivers who have more psychological and community support, and who can thereby avoid overuse of expensive facilities or hospitalisation in our tertiary hospitals. Government helps the community care partners to build, to fund and to operate healthcare and step down care facilities. In turn, you help us to provide quality services closer to the community so that Singaporeans can age in place. It is a collaborative system that keeps our healthcare costs affordable. It is especially important as more Singaporeans age and we will all need, one day, step down services and facilities. We are happy with this model, which is why over the last decade, we have increased our spending on primary care and intermediate or long-term care sectors by nearly four times over ten years.
I am very pleased that partners like Ren Ci are doing well. Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio builds on its earlier network and success. With the opening of this nursing home and day care facility, Ren Ci will be one of the Government’s largest community partners.
Speaking as MP for the GRC, I am very happy for my residents that we now have a facility right here. Thank you very much. In Ang Mo Kio, we have young families moving in, but as know we have many older residents as well. Now we have a facility close to home that our older residents can go to if they are unwell, or if they need day care services because Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio is not just a nursing home, but also houses integrated aged care services, including day care and physical rehabilitation services.
Around Chinese New Year I visited this place to have an early quiet look. I thought it would be nice to come by and wish everyone happy Chinese new year. So I got a sneak preview. It wasn’t fully occupied then, but I met some of the staff and patients who had moved in and some of them had come from their previous nursing home in Moulmein. The patients and their families were all very happy with the new facilities and services.
For example, Mdm Goh Chew Lan, who is already 79, lives nearby at Ang Mo Kio Ave 2. Her family was concerned about leaving her alone at home during the day because she would experience dizzy spells from time to time. Her daughter, Bee Ling, enrolled Mdm Goh in the senior care centre here when Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio started operations. Now Bee Ling has peace of mind because someone is taking care of her mother when she is at work. Mdm Goh enjoys coming to the day care centre as she makes new friends and looks forward to the rehabilitation activities.
Nursing home residents share common living and activity spaces within a smaller cluster of beds. They have an “HDB style” living environment. As Thian Poh says, an 8-foot-way enhanced from the old 5-foot-way. It helps to promote independence and interaction among residents. Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio is also piloting a Short-Stay Unit for residents who have been discharged from public and community hospitals, but need a supportive environment to recuperate for a short period of time. They can continue with rehabilitation here and gradually get back to their daily routines and activities with help and support. When they are ready and recovered they can go home.
So far, 70 residents have benefitted from this pilot service. One of them is 74 year-old Mr Choo Chew Chwee. Mr Choo was admitted to hospital last year for peripheral vascular disease – blockage of blood vessels in his legs, not a life threatening disease, but needs medication and time to recover. As he was recovering, he needed help with basic daily activities like showering and preparing his meals. So he was referred to the Short-Stay Unit for interim care. With the support of the multi-disciplinary team here, including the therapists who helped him with his rehab, Mr Choo gradually recovered strength and happily was discharged earlier this month. Ren Ci’s involvement did not end there. The social work team helped Mr Choo arrange home care services such as meals-on-wheels and medical escort services, which he could continue to call upon when at home. Most importantly, Mr Choo is happy to be recovering in the comfort of his own home – just like many of us would feel – thanks to the care and support of Ren Ci and their team of professionals and staff. This is how health care should be delivered: effective, affordable, personal with a human touch, taking care not just of the medical problem but also the social needs and family circumstances of the patient.
Finally, I want to thank Ren Ci for your long-standing commitment and dedication to help those in need for the last 25 years and especially thank the doctors and nurses, allied health professionals, social workers, administrators, caregivers, IT support staff, donors, community and programme partners, and volunteers – so many helping hands - who come together and work day and night to keep the Ren Ci network going. You have made many sacrifices and done a lot of good work. I hope you will continue supporting Ren Ci in helping our old people, particularly, to get well, to be well and to live happily. I wish Ren Ci continued success in pursuing your mission. Congratulations once again on the opening of Ren Ci @ Ang Mo Kio.
Thank you very much.
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