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Learning to go the distance

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Learning to go the distance

Yishun Health’s GeriCare team builds bridges and overcomes hurdles to pave the way for healthcare workers on their learning journeys.

GeriCare, a partnership network comprising Yishun Health and eight nursing homes, has been broadening the existing training and learning opportunities.

The latest initiatives — PowerFacts and #midwksnack — can be described as snack- and fun-sized. These new digital resources launched in February 2021 are small and easily digestible snippets that would fit into a busy healthcare worker’s schedule.

Learning does not have to be time-consuming or boring. PowerFacts is a series of short animated video clips on Youtube that serves to educate healthcare workers about palliative and geriatric care. For instance, in one four-minute video, we understand grief through the eyes of a squirrel who has lost his acorn. In another, we follow John through his active dying process together with his family and healthcare team.

In addition, GeriCare’s new series of informational comics #midwksnack can be found on Instagram, bite-sized food for thought to enrich one’s day. The content could vary from short snippets of information to illustrate concepts in palliative and geriatric care, to prompt for pause and self-reflection. Some of these comics are illustrated in collaboration with local artists.

Going digital to keep going
Since 2010, GeriCare has harnessed digital technology in its work. The team has facilitated tele-consultations between Yishun Health and nursing homes, along with training courses for nursing home staff in geriatric and palliative care. These further GeriCare’s mission to allow nursing home residents to gain access to quality healthcare.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, safe distancing measures limiting cross-institutional movements were put in place to protect staff and residents. This affected face-to-face training at a time when nursing home staff needed to be trained in new tasks, such as swabbing.

In response, GeriCare adjusted its training to move onto online platforms via videoconferencing technology, allowing training to continue. The reception was positive — attendance did not dip and 433 nursing home staff attended the training courses in the midst of the pandemic.

Living by the mantra “good things must be shared”, GeriCare also sought to get more healthcare workers to take up their learning opportunities. From the start of 2021, GeriCare extended the invitation of its TeleCPE (Continuing and Professional Education) talks to non-GeriCare partners. The topics covered in TeleCPE range from palliative care to rehabilitation and mental wellness.

A labour of love
Juggling work, family and training isn’t easy even in the best of times, but during the COVID-19 period, it called for double the perseverance, with numerous spanners being thrown into the works.
In August 2021, GeriCare held its annual graduation ceremony virtually to celebrate the efforts of nursing home staff who had successfully passed training courses during 2019 and 2020. Concurrently, it also paid tribute to the sacrifices nursing home staff had made in the battle against COVID-19.

“Our nurses have shown resilience and fortitude for the sake of our residents and patients. It all comes from our desire to provide care and love for our residents in the nursing homes, many of whom are alone, marginalised and forgotten,” said Associate Professor James Low, Clinical Director, GeriCare.

Improving communications and problem solving

“The palliative and TeleGeriatrics Nurse (TNTC) training courses helped me grow to become more sensitive to my patients’ whole being including their physical, emotional, and even social needs. Before, my voice trembled every time I spoke to patients’ relatives but now, I am able to communicate about my patients’ issues to their relatives because I understand them better. I am happy to be an effective caregiver and offer comfort and a meaningful life to my patients and their families despite their conditions.”
– Josephine Calderon, Enrolled Nurse, The Lentor Residence

“After attending the courses, I improved in identifying and assessing the clinical problems of residents and am able to carry out suitable interventions and treatments for them. Also through the role-playing exercises, I am able to better communicate with family members and caregivers.”
– Manikandan Prema, Staff nurse, Sree Narayana Mission Nursing Home

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