Integrated Rehabilitation Programme (IRP) was initiated by Ang Mo Kio –Thye Hua Kwan Hospital in January 2014 to enhance the services and address the existing gaps in patient rehabilitation. The aim was to maximize the rehabilitation potential of patients through non-traditional methods of therapy/activities; focused on functional goals that cuts across other disciplines and the patient’s time optimized while in the hospital.
Under IRP, patients were engaged in various rehab activities for an average of 3 hours per day. It was safely carried out by therapy assistants, caregivers and volunteers who underwent some basic training. The practice strategy was to eliminate disciplinary boundaries so as to incorporate holistic functional goals in patient’s daily activities during the stay at AMK-THKH. Patients who participate in IRP are engaged in various activities and exercises throughout the day, including morning exercises and walks, bedside exercises, sitting out for meals, standing group activities, seated group activities (including art & craft, Bingo, Karaoke) and cooking classes.
In AMKH, volunteer programmes are conducted from Monday to Saturday. On weekdays, our volunteer programmes will start from 2.30pm to 4.30pm at Level 4 Patient Hub. On weekends, our volunteer programmes will start from 9am to 1pm at Level 4 Patient Hub.
Monday Bingo / Animal Therapy Tuesday My Life in Picture / Games Day / Music Therapy / Hair Cutting Wednesday Karaoke Thursday Arts Day Friday Craft Day / Seated Taichi Saturday Saturday Group Therapy & Lunch Serving
Bingo – Bingo play is a simple cognitive activity that can help to improve concentration and hand-eye coordination. Playing Bingo allows the elderly to sustain their attention for a longer time as they wait intently for their desired number to be called. The adrenaline rush that comes with yelling the word “Bingo” brings a huge amount of satisfaction for the patients. Prizes that serve as a form of motivation are also given out to patients. Moreover, this luck-base game provides a platform for the elderly to connect to and interact with other patients and volunteers.
Animal Assisted Therapy (Dogs) – The Animal Assisted Therapy is a goal directed intervention whereby trained dogs are incorporated into the therapy sessions to provide social and emotional benefits for patients. Targeted at mostly dementia patients, the session is held in collaboration with our Occupational Therapists. The presence of animals helps to build rapport between the therapists and the elderly, while acting as a conversational starter for the elderly to interact with each other.
Cat Therapy – The eyes of the elderly lit up and the corners of their lips rose as they were pushed into the activity area. The soothing purr of the cats greeted the elderly as they stretched out their hands to stroke the animals gingerly. Conducted once a month, the Cat Therapy sessions that are held in collaboration with Cat – Assisted Therapy Singapore (CATS) have gained popularity in our hospital. These furry confidants bring much needed comfort for our patients as they brush, cuddle and play with them. The presence of these felines help to build rapport between the patients and volunteers as well as encourage social interaction among the elderly.
My Life in Pictures – A dozen magazines of different genres were strewn across the table in an untidy pile. The elderly patients busied themselves flipping through the magazines, zooming in on pictures of everything and anything that they are drawn to. By cutting out representative images of themselves and making it into a photo book for keepsake, the elderly will be able to share their artwork with others. Not only do the elderly get to train their fine motor skills with this cutting activity, the photo book itself also serves as a great conversational starter as it offers deeper insights into the lives of the elderly.
Games Day – The activity area is converted into a game fair with different tables offering a variety of games such as snake & ladder, jenga and carom. Playing in a group is a good influence and players can utilise their cognitive functions and build dexterity through the movement of their fingers which could help slow down the aging process. Regardless whether they win or lose, Games Day is a fun activity for our patients to enjoy themselves and interact with each other.
Music Therapy – The soothing sound of the acoustic piano flooded the room as the pianist ran his fingers lightly over the keys. The session is held in collaboration with our very own doctor, Dr Gilbert, on the piano and accompanied by live singing by one of our staff, Kelvin. Our patients enjoy humming along to their favourite oldies while enjoying the therapeutic melody created by the instrument. Music therapy provides an outlet for expression of feelings and improves the mood of the elderly who enjoys music and singing.
Hair Cutting – Conducted at every last Tuesday of the month, the activity area was transformed into a make shift hair salon with different stations. From providing queue numbers to the incoming patients, to pushing them to the hair dressers awaiting for their customers, and finally to giving them a good powder dusting after their haircut, the volunteers ran the hair grooming session like a well-oiled machine. The hair cutting coordinators were simultaneously sweeping up the hair on the floor before the next patient’s turn. It is the most popular volunteer programme with more than a hundred patients coming in and leaving satisfied with their new hairstyle.
Karaoke – Their vacant stares were replaced with a smile as the music wafted from the speakers. An elderly audience began tapping her toes while another started rapping his knuckles against the side of the wheelchair, along to the rhythm of the music. A few patients started humming the lyrics as the familiar melody of the song resonated with them. The weekly Karaoke session has just begun. For patients who enjoy singing and listening to music, these karaoke sessions can help to improve their mood and allow for positive social interactions. It is a therapeutic form of activity that brings joy and laughter into their lives.
Arts Day – The elderly patients bend over the table transferring coloured beads from a container to a pegboard using a toothpick. Their brows furrowed in concentration as they attempt to create their desired designs with Pyssla beads. The weekly beads making activity not only brings out the artist in our elderly patients but also help to improve their fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. Over at the other table, the patients were busy colouring. This childhood past time is a therapeutic activity suitable for the elderly as it evokes feelings of peace, enjoyment and satisfaction. Occasionally, some patients were seen practicing Chinese calligraphy writing. Rendered in quick fluid strokes, calligraphy is more concerned with flow and feeling rather than skill and precision and is supposed to come straight from the heart. The different activities conducted during Arts Day provide varying avenues for the elderly to be creative.
Craft Day – The volunteers huddled around the elderly, ever ready to offer their help while listening attentively to the volunteer leader explaining the next steps for the afternoon’s Do-It-Yourself craft activity. Likewise, the elderly were focused on the task at hand, occasionally signalling to the volunteers to lend a hand. Fridays are dedicated for craft sessions which can help to improve the patience, hand-eye coordination and motor skills of the elderly. The craftwork for each week differs from making plastic roses to beaded jewellery. Completing the craftwork with minimal assistance brings about a huge sense of satisfaction for the elderly and they get to share the craftwork they did with their loved ones.
Seated Taichi – Two rows of wheelchairs were lined up at the activity area. The elderly patients sat facing each other, waiting patiently for the programme to start. A cheerful lady greeted the patients as she set her portable radio down. With the music on full blast, the Tai Chi master swung into action and begun the weekly Tai Chi class. The class started with breathing exercises, progressing to neck and upper body stretches and blood circulation exercises. An easily adapted form of gentle workout for anyone from the physically fit to the wheelchair bound and even post-surgery patients, our Tai Chi sessions provide an opportunity for the elderly to maintain strength, flexibility and balance while having fun.
Saturday Group Therapy – Run by volunteers and supported by the IRP Therapist Assistants, our Saturday Group Therapy revamped the way patients engage in rehabilitation exercises using a fun and energetic approach. The activities provide the opportunity for the elderly to maintain strength, flexibility and balance while having fun. By participating in this therapy session on top of their routine rehabilitation exercises, patients can recover faster and return to their normal lives sooner.
Food Serving – Pushing a trolley filled with food trays, a group of volunteers made their rounds from bed to bed to serve lunch to the elderly during weekends. More than assisting the nurses to help serve the correct lunch set to the right patient, food serving creates the opportunity for the volunteers to interact with the elderly. This program is very popular with working adults. Many of them also double up as befrienders to chat with the elderly after they finish taking their lunch.
Corporate Social Responsibility Collaboration (CSR)
We seek collaboration with companies and allow them to do CSR volunteering and assist in our existing volunteer programmes in the afternoon from Monday to Friday, 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Companies will be involved in engaging with the patients through our volunteer programmes. If the company prefers to do CSR volunteering on weekends, we allow them to plan their own volunteering programmes too!
Volunteer In Action Collaboration (VIA)
We seek collaboration with schools and allow students to do VIA volunteering and assist in our existing volunteer programmes in the afternoon from Monday to Friday, 2.30pm to 4.30pm. Students will be involved in engaging with the patients through our volunteer programmes. If the school prefers to do VIA volunteering on weekends, we allow the students to plan their own volunteering programmes too!
Ministry of Social and Family Development Collaboration (MSF)
We seek collaboration with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and allow probationers / Community Service Officers (CSO) offenders who would be ending their probation order / community service order soon and have remaining CS hours to complete. CSO offenders are allowed to do volunteering and assist in our volunteer programmes in the afternoon from Monday to Friday, 2.30pm to 4.30pm. They will be involved in engaging with the patients through our volunteer programmes.