Four of our Wellness Kampung regulars smiling after a hearty bowl of soup
Keeping well in all aspects of life — from having a balanced diet and regular exercise to maintaining social ties — boosts both physical and mental health. Taking good care of one’s health and inculcating healthy lifestyle choices have a far-reaching impact on the quality of life; it goes a long way to reducing the risk of illness later in life. Be it through encouraging people to be more active, educating them on how to keep well, or giving them the tools to take their health into their own hands, Yishun Health makes it a mission to reach out to as many people as possible through numerous initiatives and partnerships.
Many of these initiatives are rooted in and stem from not only our institutions, but the community as well. This is an important feature of our health promotion and illness prevention efforts. The community health approach broadens the mission of healthcare. We are not just about treating illnesses, but empowering people to be active participants in their own wellness.
As exemplified by our Wellness Kampungs, we strive to enable these efforts through creating platforms, partnering with service providers and other experts, as well as giving space for the community to design their own programmes.
One of Yishun Health’s signature efforts towards this end is the community-based initiative known as Wellness Kampung. Launched in 2016, it is an innovative activity centre designed to leverage existing community resources, enhance social interactions, and drive health promotion efforts. Each centre is set up in partnership between Yishun Health, St Luke’s Elder Care, and Nee Soon grassroots organisations, forming a public space for residents to gather. Its goal is to create a positive social environment to nurture behavioural and mindset change. This, in turn, nurtures a supported self-management ecosystem for the population.
The centres have become a well-loved feature of the Yishun community, and are hives of activity. Residents drop by daily to exercise, hang out with neighbours and friends, play games, do arts and crafts, attend cooking demonstrations and health talks, and participate in festive gatherings.
Resident volunteers play a big role in programme planning and development, underscoring the power of people who take ownership of their own health and well-being as well as that of the community.
STAFFING THE KAMPUNG
Centre Managers oversee the various programmes each Kampung. Besides managing activities, they build rapport with residents and volunteers to gain an in-depth knowledge of the community’s needs.
Dietitians guide the residents in their weekly cooking classes, give nutritional advice, and train volunteer Food Ambassadors, who are resource persons for the community.
Community Nurses use each Kampung as a key place of contact to screen and counsel patients, and share health advice with them. This puts these nurses in the heart of communities, where they build rapport and become sources of advice and support.
Residents are the most important feature of the Kampungs. Not only do they participate in programmes, they step up to volunteer, share ideas, and become advocates for healthy living.
Social Service & Community Organisations play an important role in resource sharing and building a supported ecosystem for residents in the North.
Residents have taken ownership of the programmes at the Kampungs, proactively adapting, expanding and creating new ones.
Kampung Buddies extended their services from meals-on-wheels delivery to befriending stay-alone, at-risk or non-ambulatory residents.
Repair Kakis was formed in response to feedback that there were few programmes for men. This is a DIY repair interest group that counts a regular crew of some 12 ‘Mr Fix-its’ from the community.
Food Ambassadors are residents who, beyond attending cooking demonstrations, work closely with Yishun Health dietitians to support the community to adopt healthier eating and cooking habits.
Intervention Programmes were started in 2017. New You is a weekly programme for early dementia patients that combines exercise, cognitive training and stimulation, and social interaction. Life After Stroke is a support group for stroke survivors. Both Sides, Now is a project about the community’s interpretation of living and leaving well — Yishun Health worked with DramaBox and ArtsWok to raise awareness and openness about end-of-life issues.
OTHER PROGRAMMES COVERED IN THIS CHAPTER:
Mini Medical School (MMS) is a platform for improving health literacy through informative and easy-to-understand lectures.
The First MMS Conference was a one-day conference held to commemorate MMS’ five-year milestone.
Share a Pot® is an award-winning initiative in which volunteers prepare hearty pots of nutritious soup for vulnerable senior citizens of the neighbourhood.
Meatless Monday is a campaign that promotes the benefits of going meat-free once a week.
The Mindfulness Programme offers tips on ‘staying present’ to experience greater joy in daily tasks and routines.
Community Health Screening is conducted regularly to pick up risk factors and chronic diseases among residents, helping them take responsibility for their health and manage their own conditions.
Coaching for Health Action Management Programme (CHAMP) is a community intervention programme to coach residents in four simple, health-promoting actions.
Community Nurse Posts are manned by nurses specially trained to handle diabetic patients with more complex medical and social issues.
Non-clinical activities, such as how Yishun Health’s green-focused design won the first-ever Stephen R Kellert Biophilic Design Award, are also covered.