NEWS:

ILC Singapore organised an inaugural Ageing Research Forum 2015 on May 27, 2015 to share results and learnings from the evaluation conducted of various Tsao Foundation programmes and create a platform to improve and broaden practice for community-based research.

More than 80 participants from the academe, policy and practice were in attendance.

Presenters were researchers and Tsao Foundation staff who have collaborated on these programmes: the Self Care on Health of Older Persons (SCOPE), Hua Mei EPICC (Elder-Centered Programme of Integrated Comprehensive Care), Coaching and Counselling, WeCare, End of Life and the Citi-Tsao Foundation Financial Education Programme for Mature Women. These programmes showcased various research methodologies in collaboration with the academe, older people and community partners to bring about evidence-based advocacies on policy and practice.

The forum also aimed to create greater interest on ageing research through the Graduate Programme Researchers Panel. Two graduate students from SIM University presented their studies and benefited from feedback from various sectors.

Following is a brief description of the programmes and researches showcased at the forum:

Citi-Tsao Foundation Financial Education Programme for Mature Women
The Citi-Tsao Foundation Financial Education Programme for Mature Women equips women with critical life skills such as saving and planning for the long term, growing their small surpluses and negotiating for their financial options successfully. In partnership with the People’s Association Women’s Integration Network, the programme is offered in Community Clubs to reach out to women aged between 40 and 60 years old. The training sessions follow a framework that allows women to have an understanding of financial concepts; how these apply to their contexts; and learn financial management skills that they can practice.

A one-to-one matched case-control study of 1,360 participants was conducted in 2013 to determine if each participant’s financial knowledge and behaviour were different after completing the financial education programme. The programme has reached out to more than 2,000 women in Singapore and has since been adopted in Indonesia and Malaysia with the support of Citi Foundation and local programme partners. It is an initiative that brings attention and action on the issue of financial security among older women in both policy and practice–engaging community partners and policymakers in Singapore and the region.

Hua Mei Elder-centred Programme of Integrated Comprehensive Care (EPICC)
Hua Mei EPICC was launched on 12 April 2013 to help older persons who want to continue living in the community in spite of their multiple chronic medical conditions, physical frailty and weak family and social support network. In its essence, EPICC is team-managed, person-centered, integrated comprehensive care, with a day club programme. It is the only programme of its kind in Singapore to accept elders who do not have a dedicated caregiver at home. As such, it meets the needs of some of the most under-served older persons.

At the centre, where they spend 6 hours each programme day, participants receive medical and psychosocial healthcare and engage in physiotherapy and stimulating activities such as crafts and games. Their attendance at the day club supports person-centered care delivery. Participants also receive 24-hour medical emergency coverage and home-help when there are no alternatives.

EPICC’s three-year pilot programme started in 2011 and included a randomised controlled trial (RCT) to assess the service's medical and social impact.

Hua Mei Mobile Clinic End-of-Life Care Programme
Hua Mei Mobile Clinic is a team-managed multidisciplinary team serving homebound and frail elders who have difficulties accessing health and social care. Owing to its patient profile, a part of the team's work naturally includes palliative care. With Tote Board funding, the Clinic incorporated its end-of-life care procedures into a formal programme and examined its qualitative impact over three years, from 1 October, 2010 to 30 September, 2012.

The ultimate goal of the Hua Mei Mobile Clinic system of care is to enable comfort and peace in old age, whereby clients enjoy optimal health, dignity and a sense of security while living in their own homes, surrounded by loved ones, neighbours and friends. When the time comes, the older persons, with the Clinic as care-partner, can transit to a good death, which usually means dying at home, without any loss of comfort and peace.

‘Perception and experiences of counselling services among an elderly population’ (Hua Mei Counselling & Social Work Practice)
Counselling can help seniors cope with transitions and empower them with adaptive skills. However, counselling as experienced by seniors in Singapore is not well understood. This research examined the perceptions of seniors towards counselling, the counselling experience and best practices that would enhance counselling delivery to the elderly in Singapore.

This research study utilized a qualitative framework, and had three main components: 1) interviews with seniors who had not used counselling services 2) in-depth interviews with seniors who had received counselling services from Hua Mei Hua Mei Counselling & Social Work Practice and 3) interviews with counselors involved in the counselling of seniors.

Self-Care on Health for Older Persons in Singapore Programme (SCOPE)
The Self Care on Health of Older Persons in Singapore (SCOPE) is a community development programme that helps empower older people to practice self-care and manage chronic diseases better with the long-term goal of helping sustain good functional status and quality of life. The programme also aims to build their support system that will enable them to continue taking good care of each other over the long term.

SCOPE’s two-year pilot phase (2011 to 2013) was funded by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to test and evaluate the efficacy of a self-care approach. The randomized controlled trial was conducted by the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore and ILC Singapore in partnership with 14 Senior Activity Centres in the Bukit Merah, Ang Mo Kio and Toa Payoh areas. SCOPE recently received a new three-year funding (2015-2018) to build the capacity of Senior Activity Centres, Wellness Centres and other relevant service providers to reach out to 1,200 older persons.

Working to Enhance the Care and Resilience of Elders (WECARE) Programme – Hua Mei Clinic
WECARE is a medical care pilot study on the prevention of disabilities among community-dwelling older persons. It was initiated in 2010 in a partnership between the Tsao Foundation and the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation. The study was completed in January 2014.

The pilot study sets out to define the components of medical care in a model of primary care as practiced at the Tsao Foundation’s Hua Mei Clinic. Its integrated multidisciplinary model is designed to address the complex medical and psychosocial needs of an aged population. Central to this model is an emphasis on prevention of disability through early detection and age/disease-specific interventions before complications develop.

Primary healthcare as practiced in Singapore tends to be episodic, fragmented and does not adequately address psychosocial complexities. The study aims to address some of these areas and contribute towards an improved comprehensive system of primary healthcare.

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