Caring for dementia patients is often challenging and emotionally demanding for family members, especially when caregivers have difficulty understanding their loved ones’ behaviours. At Changi General Hospital’s (CGH) dementia ward, Senior Nurse Manager Savithri is always on hand to offer support, comfort and advice.

Armed with 40 years of nursing experience, she was instrumental in setting up the first dementia ward at CGH in 2015 to provide dedicated care to these patients. The ward has a “no restraints” policy that allows patients to interact freely and participate in activities.

“As dementia patients need individualised care due to differences in their behaviours, having a dedicated ward ensures that their specialised needs are met,” said Savithri, who has contributed many ideas to improve the patients’ quality of life.

One initiative that is close to her heart is the robotic pet therapy programme which uses a life-like robotic cat or dog to calm patients who show signs of agitation or depression.

Savithri identified patients for this programme when it was started in 2017 and it has been successful in improving patients’ moods, especially for those who used to own pets.

Another programme that she introduced is the Snoezelen Sensory Board, a multisensory stimulation therapy that uses items that stimulate the senses to reduce patients’ behavioural issues.

Beyond patient care, Savithri is a peer supporter for the nurses in her ward. She provides emotional support and shares tips to help them cope with stress. She is also a strong advocate for nursing education, and is one of the main trainers for workshops on topics such as Advance Care Planning.

Despite her busy schedule, Savithri volunteers at several social welfare organisations, such as the Infant Jesus Home and Children’s Centre where she spends time baking cookies with the children and teaching them hand hygiene practices.

“Volunteering offers me the chance to give back to the community and to make a difference in someone’s life. It is gratifying to see others happy,” she shared.

Sinnatamby Savithri

Senior Nurse Manager

Ward 58

Changi General Hospital

Recipient of the Singapore Health Quality Service Awards (SHQSA) 2020 Superstar Award - Nursing Category