The ABLEity to live independently
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital’s ABLE Studio has evolved over the years and now serves as one-stop shop for not just the home care and rehab products but also others designed by its staff.
The ABLE Studio at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) has had much iteration over the years. The idea for the Studio started in 2001 as the HIP (Home for Independent Persons) Studio at Alexandra Hospital (AH). The HIP Studio was a teaching-cum-demonstration site showcasing a variety of products and practical solutions that help older adults live more safely and independently in their homes. However, the Studio was located at AH’s Geriatric Centre, far from the main patient and visitor flow areas, and was neither visible nor accessible.
The second version of the Studio, which opened at Jurong Medical Centre in 2007, took the idea further and was called the Home Care Solutions Centre. It was more than four times the size of the HIP Studio, and it was open to the public and was located close to the pharmacy, outpatient rehabilitation and geriatric clinics. Products exhibited were sold at the pharmacy, however, the synergy between the Centre and the pharmacy, then run by a third party, was limited.
Under one roof
The current version of the Studio at KTPH combines the Studio with the retail pharmacy under one roof for rehabilitation and home care needs. Shared ABLE Studio’s operator, Ray Choo, “This means that a recovering patient who needs a wheelchair, for example, will also be able to purchase the entire range of associated products and accessories he would probably need, from commodes to wound care products, all at one place.” The project was made possible by an inter-disciplinary (geriatric-pharmacy-rehabilitation) collaboration.
While the products sold come with instructions for safe and hassle-free use, the ABLE Studio is also managed by trained staff who understand the geriatric and rehabilitation needs of its clients. This enables them to educate and empower customers to make informed choices about the products they are purchasing.
In addition to the retail and education arms, the ABLE Studio serves as a platform for the creation, test-bedding and exchange of new ideas, by collaborating with community, academic and commercial partners, to drive and source for better designs in products, processes and environments for the recovering patient or the ageing person.
The Studio already sells five products created by KTPH staff – the Angie tube headband, which secures and hides the nasogastric tube if in use, the Angie pants which has two side pockets so the user can put the urine bag, Personalised Stoma Kit for stoma patients who are going to be discharged from the hospital, Personalised Pouch for Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) kidney patients, and Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) Pouch for stomach tube-feeding patients.
The Studio also has a mock-up functional home to get ideas to make life easier.
“The ability to function independently is paramount in later life, and the ABLE Studio empowers our seniors with the knowledge, skills, access to resources and affordable solutions to successfully age-in-place,” said Dr Wong Sweet Fun, senior consultant at KTPH’s Department of Geriatric Medicine. “In that way, we respect the preferences of older adults and give them a greater sense of confidence and dignity as they age gracefully.”
(** Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) does not have a similar setup like KTPH. However, it does sell some of the items at its retail pharmacy, according to a spokesperson.)