SINGAPORE, 10 December 2022 – Almost 9 in 10 Woodlands residents (88%) who attended the community health screenings organised by Woodlands Health (WH) were identified to have at least one borderline or abnormal result for diabetes, obesity, high blood cholesterol or hypertension.
The majority of the 125 residents, aged 40 and above, have not done any health screenings in the past three years. They have since been referred to neighbouring primary care partners for follow-up assessments, or the newly set up Community Health Posts (CHPs) in the neighbourhood to review their lifestyle options with the health coaches.
Bringing care closer to home
This is part of WH’s efforts to work with General Practitioners (GPs) and community partners to deliver care closer to home. Under the Communities of Care (CoCs) network, three CHPs have been set up at Active Ageing Centres (AACs) in Woodlands and Marsiling since September 2022. They are operated by WH’s Community Health Team (CHT).
The CHT is a multi-disciplinary team comprising of health coaches, community nurses and care coordinators. The health coaches encourage health-seeking behaviour by co-developing a personalised care plan with the residents to achieve their health goals. It may include joining exercise sessions, health screenings, fall prevention programme and weight management programme. This is complemented by community nurses and care coordinators who perform case management for residents requiring more complex care in managing chronic diseases, and to coordinate with other social agencies or partners to address social issues which are affecting resident’s health. With each CHP anchoring a CoC, WH targets to form up to 20 CoCs for over 250,000 residents in North-Western Singapore by 2026.
“Woodlands Health aims to collaborate with community partners and GPs to keep residents well in the community. By bringing our services closer to the residents, we hope to better support seniors and busy adults in doing regular health checks, and talk to our health coaches to discover ways they could delay the onset of chronic diseases. We have been encouraged by the health-seeking behaviour of the residents who have proactively visited the CHPs or attended the first two health screening sessions. We hope to see more residents taking their first step so we can assist them with their health goals.” Said Mr Eric Ho, Director, Regional Health Office, Woodlands Health.
At Sunlove Golden Saffron where the latest CHP is set up, the centre observed that residents with chronic diseases appreciate that they can get their blood pressure and sugar levels monitored regularly, as well as seek advice from the CHT on improving their lifestyles. “They are happy that such a service is available near their house and it’s easily accessible. Residents are also aware that instead of going to the clinic for every little thing, the CHT and Sunlove Golden Saffron Team are here to assist their needs and provide the support needed if medical conditions require preventive measures.” Said a spokesperson.
88% of health results show borderline or abnormal concerns
At the two health screenings held in October and November, 88% of 125 residents were found to have borderline or abnormal health results which require follow-up assessments with GPs or at the Polyclinic. Those who have normal results but have potential health risks because of lifestyle habits (such as smoking) are also referred to the CHT’s health coach for review and lifestyle coaching.
Dr Jeffery Loh from Dr+ Medical & Paincare Marsiling, one of the GP partners on residents’ post-health screening, has seen about 50 of these residents. He noted that most of them have hypertension, obesity or dyslipidaemia (high cholesterol). “This health screening is good because there are people in the community who do not go for regular health screening, which may pick up silent killer diseases. This enables healthcare workers to treat medical conditions and provide early intervention for emerging chronic diseases. The partnership with WH on this initiative is good because it helps in the sharing of resources, complementing each another in services that may be lacking on either side.” He said.
WH is planning about 10 more health screenings in 2023, with an aim of reaching out to 800 residents to address any health concerns. Woodlands residents can also walk in to any of the three CHPs to discuss their health journeys and goals with the health coaches.
WH’s Community outreach efforts
While WH Campus will progressively open from December 2023, the Woodlands Health team has been caring for the community since 2016. WH has been engaging residents and serving the community through health talks and outreach programmes.
In 2020, Woodlands Health launched the GPFirst programme in the North and the Urgent Care Centre (UCC) at Kampung Admiralty in collaboration with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital for residents with urgent but non-life-threatening conditions to get treatment. The NurseFirst helpline was also launched in 2022, where residents can call the helpline manned by nurses trained in emergency triage, for advice on where they can seek treatment for acute conditions. The CHT is a recent addition to the range of services complementing Woodlands Health’s efforts to create a holistic system of care, and improve the right-siting and accessibility of care within the community.