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A community embrace

Changi General Hospital (CGH) drives mental well-being for seniors in the community through the Community Psychogeriatric Programme (CPGP).


As people age, it is not uncommon to face mental health challenges such as anxiety, mood disorders and cognitive impairment. Recognising this, CGH established the CPGP to provide tailored and enhanced mental health care for residents in selected areas who are aged 65 and above and are unable to access hospital or outpatient services.

Underscoring the hospital’s commitment to holistic, patient-centric care for seniors, CGH’s CPGP is powered by a team comprising psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, nurses, medical social workers (MSWs), occupational therapists, physiotherapists and other support staff. This multi-disciplinary team ensures a comprehensive approach to mental health, addressing various mental health conditions for the most effective care.

Empowering and Educating the Community

The CPGP empowers eldercare agencies by increasing the awareness of mental health issues in seniors, conducting training for the agencies’ staff on how to run mental health screenings, and providing post-training support. “This approach not only aids in early detection and timely treatment of mental health conditions, but also fosters partnerships between CGH and eldercare agencies, enhancing the overall care provided to older individuals,” says Clinical Assistant Professor Vanessa Mok, Senior Consultant, Department of Psychological Medicine, CGH, and CPGP Project Director.

Personalised Home-Based Care

For those unable to access hospital services, CPGP’s clinical home-based assessments and interventions are a lifeline. This includes pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, psychosocial support and referrals to social service or eldercare agencies, with the aim to create a supportive environment that fosters independence and quality of life.

Additionally, the team evaluates patients’ financial needs and collaborates with government agencies to provide necessary funding and assistance. This person-centred approach looks at various aspects of an individual’s life, ensuring their unique needs are met.

One of the programme’s patients is Mr D. S/O R. D. Now in his late 60s, Mr D. had been feeling very down after separating from his wife. He lives alone and has multiple medical conditions. After he was referred to the CPGP, CGH nurses started visiting him on a regular basis to check on his mood and helped ensure that he followed his medication plans. They also accompanied him on walks around the neighbourhood and made regular phone calls to check on his well-being. The CPGP team also connected various community partners with Mr D. so that he could receive the respective social and financial assistance he needed. Mr D.’s mood has improved significantly with the support of the CGH care team — he now sleeps better and has a better appetite, and looks forward to meeting up with his friends for meals.

Beyond patients, CPGP’s focus extends to caregivers, by providing crucial support and education on psychiatric conditions, medication management and non-pharmacological interventions. Specialised caregiver training is also offered, equipping them with the necessary skills to assist with daily care, ultimately improving the well-being of both caregivers and their charges.

Mdm J. K., whose husband has dementia, found it difficult to bring him for medical reviews due to mobility challenges. Upon referral to the CPGP, the CPGP nurses visited the couple at home regularly to check on her husband’s condition, allowing them to minimise visits to the hospital. The CPGP team also provides emotional support and caregiver advice to Mdm J. K.


A Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Occupational therapists and physiotherapists within the team also play a vital role by offering practical day-to-day support. They conduct home assessments to ensure a safe living environment, recommend home modifications, and suggest activities that promote physical and mental engagement. The psychologists conduct therapy or behavioural interventions, while the MSWs engage patients and caregivers on financial support and community services. “At the heart of all these social interventions is the concept of person-centred care, as we look at various aspects of an individual’s life and ensure their unique needs are met, thereby improving their quality of life at home,” says Clin Asst Prof Mok.

A community embrace