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Authors

  1. Goei, Anne MBBS
  2. Mohan Tiruchittampalam, Grad Dip Healthcare Management & Leadership, FRCS (A&E)

Abstract

Context: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed a strain on health care systems worldwide. Many hospitals experienced severe bed shortages; some had to turn patients away. In Singapore, the widespread outbreak, especially among the dormitory-based population, created a pressing need for alternative care sites.

 

Program: The first massive-scale community care facility (CCF) was started in Singapore to address the pandemic. It served as a low-acuity primary care center that could isolate and treat COVID-19-positive patients with mild disease. This allowed decompression of the patient load in hospitals, ensuring that those with more severe disease could receive timely medical attention.

 

Implementation: Various groups from the private and public sectors, including health care, construction, security, hotel management, and project coordination, were involved in the setup and operations of the CCF. A large exhibition center was converted into the care facility and segregated into zones to reduce cross-contamination. State-of-the-art technological infrastructure for health management was used. Several paraclinical services were made available.

 

Evaluation: The CCF was a timely and robust response that fulfilled several crucial functions, including cohort isolation, triage, basic medical care, and timely reviews and escalation of patients. It placed a unique focus on promoting patient ownership, responsibility, and mental well-being. It was largely successful, with a low hospital transfer rate of 0.37%.

 

Discussion: The success of the CCF could be attributed to the use of a facility of opportunity, strong interorganizational and cross-sector cooperation, an integrated and robust clinical system, and clear communication channels. It allows for efficient resource utilization and is valuable in future pandemics with similar disease characteristics.