When you are unwell, does your recovery depend on how competent your healthcare team is or how effective the medications that they prescribe are? Both play a part but these two factors are definitely not the only factors that determine a patient’s health outcome!

“From research, we know that the more engaged a patient is, the more positive his or her health status will be. It is important for people to take an active interest in their own health, especially for patients who have a longer recovery journey,” said Dr Luke Low, Head & Consultant, Post-Acute & Continuing Care (PACC) Service, Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH). SKCH is managed by SingHealth Community Hospitals, a member of the SingHealth group.

Ways to take an active role in managing your health

  • Go for regular health screenings that are recommended for your age group
  • Be upfront with the healthcare team on your health concerns
  • Set feasible health goals and share them with your healthcare team so that they can work with you to achieve them
  • For medications, let your pharmacist know if you have any difficulty managing your prescriptions
  • For rehabilitation, let your therapist know if you are comfortable with the pace of therapy sessions

Introduction of the SKCH Patient Journal

The team at SKCH has taken promoting patient engagement to a new level with the introduction of the patient journal pilot project in Aug 2018.

For patients at community hospitals like SKCH, the duration of stay is generally longer – about three to four weeks – compared to patients at acute hospitals. Also, many of them require rehabilitation and therapy services.

Based on interviews with SKCH patients, the team discovered that:

  1. About 30% of them shared that their family visits after office hours and could not meet the care team
  2. More than 60% would like to have a file or book that lists down their needs, preferences and their treatment or medications

As a result, the patient journal – a 20-page A5-sized handy booklet – was developed.


Pictured above: The SKCH "My Health Journal" with one of its notes pages. 

The first segment of the journal is ‘All about me’, which encourages patients to share more about themselves through questions like ‘What all my friends call me’, ‘What I do/used to do for a living’ and  ‘Things that give me joy include…’.

Also included in the journal is a section that captures patients’ progress, medication notes and rehabilitation preferences.

The journal isn’t just for the patient’s use. Caregivers can leave questions or notes in the journal for the care team and vice versa.

“The patient journal is our way of assuring patients and caregivers that their views and concerns matter to us. It is also a reminder to all of us in the healthcare team to think of the patient’s perspective so that we can achieve our mission of delivering person-centred care to achieve health goals hand-in-hand with our patients,” Dr Low added.

Ref: M19