Dementia care ward in new All Saints Home
To address an increasing demand for dementia services, the voluntary welfare organisation has a special ward for 49 dementia residents who are vulnerable elderly.
All Saints Home has a dedicated dementia care ward in its fourth and newest nursing home in Jurong East for vulnerable elderly, which has been operational since September last year and officially opens today. In its other nursing homes in Yishun, Tampines and Hougang, residents who have dementia are not grouped together.
All Saints Home CEO Michael Tay explained further that by doing this, the nursing home in Jurong East is able to “provide more focused service and attention, as the residents there require more attention than its other residents, because of behavioural changes”. Twenty nursing staff look after 49 residents in the dementia care ward, which is located on the second floor of the nursing home.
Currently, there are 42 residents in the ward, with symptoms of disorientation, memory loss and personality changes. All Saints Home’s team of doctors, therapists and nurses focus on providing person-centred care based on each of its residents’ needs, abilities and psychological well-being, and aim to stabilise their condition.
Features in the dementia care ward
All Saints Home partnered with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to build up its dementia care capability through attachments, training and workshops, and had consultations with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and AIC on the design of the dementia care ward. Tay shared that the ward is designed like a coffee shop with the feeling of being at home, unlike the usual hospital-ward setting, in hopes of creating a calming effect for its residents.
There is also a Reminiscent Walkway, which will soon have scenes of old Singapore to help residents find comfort in nostalgic environments; a common area for interaction and to do activities; and an isolation room in case a resident becomes anxious or unmanageable.
All Saints Home’s move to have a dementia ward is timely with a rise in dementia cases in Singapore and hence, a growing demand for dementia services. According to a newspaper article, there were about 40,000 dementia patients in Singapore last year and this is projected to reach 53,000 by 2020, and 187,000 by 2050.
Including the beds in the dementia care ward, there are a total of 194 beds in the six-storey nursing home. It also houses a rehabilitation hall, multi-purpose hall and administrative office. Tay shared that the Jurong East nursing home is a culmination of past experiences from its other three nursing homes, and All Saints Home will continue to engage the community, including students, as it already does in its other nursing homes. Philip Wong, centre director, explained that in the Jurong East nursing home, All Saints Home opens its doors to schools, and the children take part in befriending and playing ping-pong with residents, and those living in the area have also volunteered to take residents for outings.
Forms of therapy
With Jurong East, All Saints Home now has 734 beds for the vulnerable elderly who are frail with care needs and have no family, home or means for basic daily essentials. The voluntary welfare organisation is hoping to add home care services at a later time to its existing services of daycare/rehabilitation and residential nursing care.
All Saints Homes will also continue to explore different forms of therapy for its residents. For instance, a form of rehabilitation called table tennis therapy, an idea which came from one of its volunteers, was introduced a year ago to residents at All Saints Home at Hougang and Tampines, and two months ago in Jurong East. This latest therapy helps residents, including those in the dementia care ward, to improve their hand-eye coordination, concentration, and stay physically and mentally fit. Residents play around two hours once a week. Other therapies also being used include pet, art, horticulture, and music therapies.