Patients and their caregivers lend their weight to healthcare delivery and act as advocates for other patients.

Doctors and healthcare professionals may have the medical knowledge, but SingHealth is moving away from the ‘doctor knows best’ model of care to engage with patients on a deeper level for an improved patient experience, to better understand what is truly important to them so as to shape care accordingly. This is in line with SingHealth’s aim of expanding the SingHealth Patient Advocacy Network (SPAN) across the cluster.

Patients are integral members of the healthcare team and, through SPAN, they are empowered to influence the care they receive. At the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), patients and their caregivers offer solutions for the hospital to design a healthcare system that is truly for patients, by patients. The patient-hospital partnership relies on various platforms, and engaging SPAN@KKH is one of them.

SPAN@KKH comprises staff who are Members, and any KKH staff may nominate a patient and/or caregiver as potential SPAN Advisors. Members then meet potential Advisors at an introductory session to explain the work SPAN does and invite them to join the team. Members and Advisors, who meet virtually once a month, work together to drive efforts towards safe, quality and compassionate care with the patients’ perspectives in mind.

“This has enabled the healthcare team to look beyond medical treatment and recognise what truly matters to our patients and caregivers,” shared SPAN@KKH.

SPAN@KKH provides input and feedback on issues such as policies, procedures, space planning and education materials. In fact, SPAN@KKH takes a two-way approach, with Advisors also providing suggestions to the healthcare team regarding service and care delivery.

Project achievements

SPAN@KKH has offered inputs and advice on over 30 project teams and topics. Among the first few projects was a relook at the hospital’s Patient and Family Rights brochure. The previous version was too text-heavy so advisors suggested presenting it in a more reader- and patient-friendly style. This resulted in the development of an infographic version of the brochure.

Another early project suggested by an Advisor who is caregiver to a child requiring complex care resulted in designated parking or drop-off points for patients with multiple medical equipment. Previously, caregivers felt rushed at the standard drop-off point due to its high usage by private-hire cars and shuttle buses. A multidisciplinary team comprising Children’s Complex and Home Care Services, Office of Patient Experience, Security and Fire Safety/ Car Park Management came together and implemented a designated drop-off point and parking lots to increase convenience and reduce stress for these caregivers.

Most recently, KKH received positive feedback from a caregiver, who shared: “I would like to express my appreciation for the SPAN@KKH parking lot scheme.

This has greatly benefited my special needs child and I as we are able to get to our appointment on time without being delayed.”

Other projects that SPAN@ KKH has been involved in include improving caregiver engagement at the CICU (Children’s Intensive Care unit) Early Mobilisation Programme. This multidisciplinary programme aims to improve patient functional outcome, clinical outcome and family-centred care.

Feedback from SPAN@KKH meant that the initiatives under the CICU programme were crafted with the perspective of the patients and families in mind, and were catered to their emotional state, particularly for those whose children were not doing well, said Dr Syeda Kashfi Qadri, Consultant, CICU, KKH. Many patient- and familycentred initiatives were implemented by the CICU as part of its Let’s Move ’EM programme, she added. These include the bedside flipchart, which has an ‘All About Me’ page to get to know the patients better through their likes, dislikes, favourite toys and activities, and a diary documenting their critical illness journey. A memory card is given to each patient as a memento when they are discharged. With encouragement from SPAN@KKH Advisor Mr Jonathan Tiong, CICU also received $7,000 in funding from GIC to support the programme.

“We are heartened that, with input from SPAN, these initiatives have allowed us to have a deeper connection with our patients and their families, and offered a more embracing and conducive environment on top of the care we provide,” said Dr Kashfi.

To find out more or be involved in SPAN@KKH, please reach out to Serene Pok at

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