Singapore’s hospitals are seeing additional volunteers flowing in to support the health care system. According to a story from the Straits Times, these unpaid, mostly untrained volunteers provide extra eyes, ears, and hands to take some of the workload off the paid medical staff.

An Example of Kindness

Madam Lim Ai Siew volunteers as a “night sitter.” She works the 4 a.m. to dawn shift at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, watching patients and making sure that they have what they need and are not in distress. She can refill a patient’s glass of water, chat with a patient who cannot sleep, or get the help of a nurse if someone needs expert care. Every Saturday, the 57-year-old woman comes to the hospital cheerfully, ready to help despite the fact that she has no uniform and does not get paid for it.

A Surge in Helpfulness

Others like Madam Lim Ai Siew are volunteering their time as well. At the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), there were 100 volunteers in 2010. In 2016, there were 800. Khoo Teck Puat Hospital experienced a similar uptick in volunteers, going from 37 or so to 150. At the Institute of Mental Health, volunteer staff increased from 150 in 2010 to 400 by 2016. A brand-new hospital, Yishun Community Hospital, already has a list of 120 willing helpers.

Tasks for Volunteers to Do

As more of these kind-hearted individuals join the team at Singapore hospitals, their roles are also diversifying. Some of them aid with cleanup, tidying areas, and other small tasks. Some find they are best suited to chatting with patients and boosting morale. Others can keep watch over patients who require careful monitoring. Other teams of volunteers handle logistics, translate, lead art therapy, keep up with paperwork, staff booths, or provide patient support.

Some hospitals are developing specific programmes that are staffed because of volunteers. TTSH has developed a new sports integration activity, using volunteers to help coach patients through activities like seated volleyball and swimming. Volunteers can do all kinds of helpful tasks, from picking up stray balls to explaining the game.

The Hospital-Volunteer Relationship

Hospitals have a great appreciation for their volunteers. They help to boost morale, which makes for happier, more compliant patients. The volunteers also do a lot of menial tasks, freeing up the hands of nurses and doctors for more skilled labours or urgent problems that need attending.

Community Compassion and Mental Health in Singapore

At Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic, we are thrilled to see members of the community coming together to aid the sick. We recognise the value of kindness and compassion, not only in hospitals but throughout our community, as we seek to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Our clinic provides care to many with poor mental health in Singapore, and we are proud to have highly trained Singapore psychiatrists as well as many other qualified staff members. If you or a loved one are seeking compassionate, confidential support and help for a mental illness, contact Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic today.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Source: Straits Times, 20 August 2017