Singapore’s first public community hospital to be turned into psychiatric nursing home


Bright Vision Community Hospital, located off Yio Chu Kang Road, was converted into a COVID-19 care facility during the pandemic. It is not in use currently.

It opened in 2001 but ownership was handed over to SingHealth – Singapore’s largest group of healthcare institutions – a decade later due to management challenges.

When it is converted into a psychiatric nursing home, there could be wards for older adults with dementia as well as for those with learning disabilities and other types of cognitive decline, said Associate Professor Andy Ho, head of psychology at Nanyang Technological University’s School of Social Sciences.

“I would also imagine there could be wards that are fitted for people who are in transition, who are potentially ready to integrate back into the community but need more time to receive care and to be able to prepare themselves for that transition,” he added.

CURRENT CAPACITY

There are currently eight nursing homes with psychiatric beds in Singapore, with a total capacity of about 1,400 psychiatric beds.

These include St Andrew’s Nursing Home, Sunlove Home and Surya Home, located in the vicinity of Buangkok.

MOH said in October last year that aside from two new psychiatric nursing homes, it will be developing a psychiatric rehabilitation home.

Public health specialist Jeremy Lim said that the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), which has almost 2,000 psychiatric beds, is insufficient to meet current needs.

As an acute psychiatric hospital, IMH also caters to a whole spectrum of patients.

Dr Lim added that the ability to repurpose Bright Vision Community Hospital allows Singapore to ramp up capacity “much faster than we otherwise would be able to”.

“In this particular instance, given that there’s an urgent need, especially after the pandemic, it makes sense to explore some of these re-purposing options, even as Singapore may in the near future look at purpose-built facilities,” he noted.

“My own suspicion is that because we, like the rest of the world, have not anticipated the mental health crisis, the facility – once it is operational – will be filled out relatively quickly.”

Assoc Prof Ho further noted how mental health awareness has been growing in the community, with more people getting diagnosed and receiving support.

“There used to be a lot of stigma. There used to be a lot of taboo, but now a lot of that is decreasing, and people are more willing to receive service or ask for help,” he said.

“So I would imagine that the demand for all of these services would be increasing in the future.”



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