A generous donation by STMicroelectronics’s (ST) to SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH) has enabled the enhancement of activities under SCH’s social prescribing programme. These include the purchase of smartphones, tablets and monthly mobile plans for the team to conduct digital competency lessons for elderly patients under the e-Social Prescribing Programme, the production of the weekly entertainment live shows under the Variety Hour programme, the curation of gardening curriculum and spaces at SCH’s rooftop garden for patients’ therapeutic rehabilitation under the Horticultural Programme, as well as external partnerships to organise arts and music sessions to promote patients’ mental and emotional wellbeing under the Arts for Healing Programme. 

Social determinants of health, such as an individual’s housing environment, literacy, food security, social support and access to health and social care resources, are social-environmental factors that can heavily influence a person’s overall wellbeing. 

To optimise patients’ social determinants of health, SCH has been implementing social prescribing for its patients as a structured way of improving their health outcomes by linking them to activities, resources and interest groups in the community. 

“A social prescription is a powerful companion to medicines and surgery to enable the best health outcome for an individual. It expands the repertoire of options for doctors, especially when managing patients where social determinants have a profound impact on their ability to get well, live well and age well. We are grateful to like-minded partners such as STMicroelectronics, who share our vision of providing holistic, person-centred patient care and uplift our patients on their journey towards health,” said Associate Professor Gan Wee Hoe, Chief Executive Officer of SCH.

ST’s gesture in 2020 has also empowered the care team to brainstorm innovative ways to benefit more patients through the social prescribing programme, such as setting up a multimedia studio withproduction capabilities within SCH. 

In-house digital competencies have enabled SCH to bring its social prescriptions online to engage more inpatients, such as livestreaming its Variety Hour Programme across its different community hospital sites to reach out to those who are less mobile and are unable to watch the show live in person. Cooking demonstrations by SCH dietitians can also be recorded professionally and posted online   to promote healthy living to a wider audience.

Another benefit was the expansion of its Arts for Healing Programme to include patients who are unable to join group activities, by introducing individual art activities that patients can participate in from their hospital beds.

“As we navigate the world of technology, it is our responsibility to bring our senior citizens and less fortunate along with us. By enabling digital connectivity, we can bridge the social divide and promote independence, safety, and community connection. Through this initiative, we aim to empower and engage our fellow citizens using digital tools and platforms, ensuring that they remain active and connected, both now and in the future," said Bertrand Stoltz, Managing Director, ST Singapore. 

The social prescribing programme has brought a ray of light to many, including 72-year-old Mr Leow Keng Chye who was warded at Sengkang Community Hospital. “Through the e-social prescribing programme, I learned news skills such as how to block phone calls with unfamiliar numbers on my mobile phone. I was also glad to be able to take part in  activities such as the Variety Hour programme and arts and crafts, which kept me actively engaged and distracted me from my physical discomfort and worries while I was warded,” he said. “I am thankful to the care team who took care of my overall wellbeing, while helping me to recover physically.” 

Did You Know: SCH’s social prescribing programme follows through with patients even after discharge, to help them stay well in the community. Wellbeing Coordinators will help match patients to community facilities and groups offering similar activities close to patients’ home to encourage them to continue with their social prescriptions.

If you would like to support social prescribing programmes at SCH, please write to giving@singhealthch.com.sg.