CAL CEO Tim Lee and caregiver Terence Tan were invited to shine the spotlight on caregivers during the National University Health System (NUHS) Patient Grand Round. Among the attendees were Allied Health professionals and staff across the National University Polyclinics (NUP).
The session sought to help health professionals understand the crucial role caregivers play in the treatment and recovery of patients, and elevate the overall quality of care provided.
In his introduction to CAL, Tim recounted a caregiver's poignant words: "You take care of me; I take care of my sister." There is a need to recognise the challenges and burden of caregiving. Training and supporting caregivers will empower them to better care for themselves, arm them with knowledge and skills to better care for their loved ones and enable them to partner more effectively with health professionals.
For Terence, he has been caring for his loved one with dementia for 6 years. A crisis situation caused his loved one to be admitted to the Insitute of Mental Health (IMH). IMH referred Terence to CAL and he subsequently attended the Caregivers-to-Caregivers (C2C) training for Caregivers of Persons with Dementia. It made him realise that a strong network of support is crucial for caregivers. His key takeaway was: "Try stepping into your loved one's reality rather than making him/her align with yours." With this in mind, he was able to have more empathy and effective communication with his loved one.
The event also featured a panel discussion with Ms. Jamilah Jailani, NUP Head of Allied Health & Chief Medical Social Worker (Covering), and Dr. Michael Lim, NUP Family Physician. Across the board, it was voiced that deeper work needs to be done within the community to provide patients and caregivers with greater accessibility to help. Tim stressed the importance of collaborative efforts, urging everyone to unite in the spirit of “gotong royong”. He shared how CAL has been working with many community partners with the hope of raising more Mental Health Champions within different communities.
Apart from the panel discussion, CAL’s West Cluster members actively engaged with onsite participants at our booth to encourage them to look out for caregivers and encourage them to seek help from CAL. Help is indeed available for caregivers, and they can count on the support of other caregivers and CAL in their journey of care.