With a network of 36 dialysis centres, The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) provides treatment to more than 3,600 patients every year, of which about 40 per cent require transport assistance to get to their dialysis sessions.

To address the increasing demand for transport assistance, NKF formed an inter-departmental taskforce comprising members from Medical Social Work, Admissions, Purchasing, Occupational Therapy and IT in early 2017.

The team found that from January to December 2016, the number of patients who relied on ambulances or specialised vehicles as their mode of transport to the dialysis centres increased by 67 per cent.

“We didn’t have more ambulances to meet the growing demand so we wanted to come up with sustainable solutions that didn’t compromise patient safety,” says Chua Wei Bin, Director, Case Management.

The team started speaking to these patients to better understand their medical conditions and transportation needs. They also spoke to caregivers and found that at least 20 per cent of them would benefit from other forms of transport assistance such as taxi transfers and EZ-link transport credits.

“Instead of waiting for an ambulance to pick them up, travelling by taxi or bus provided this group of patients more flexibility and convenience,” explains Pauline Leong, Purchasing Department.

The team also introduced a workflow to refer patients with rehabilitation potential to the occupational therapy department so that they could get started on therapy earlier and regain their independence over time.

In October 2017, the team rolled out a Dialysis Escort service for patients who are unable to travel to the dialysis centre on their own due to their medical condition. The service has benefitted 14 patients to date, most of whom are visually impaired.

The team also worked closely with nursing homes to organise the same dialysis timing for their residents so that they can be picked up and transported as a group instead of individually. This arrangement has helped NKF to save 12 ambulance trips a month. With help from IT colleagues, the team created an online system for staff located at different dialysis centres around the island to keep track and manage the transport assistance applications centrally.

Thanks to the team’s tenacious efforts, NKF has been able to maintain the same ambulance fleet while meeting the growing demand for transport assistance.

Transport Taskforce
The National Kidney Foundation

Recipient of the Singapore Health Quality Service Awards (SHQSA) 2019 Best Team Award - Intermediate and Long-Term Care Service Initiative Improvement