October 2017 | Issue 32
Stepping into the Polyclinic to learn more about step-down care

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By Paras Bajaj, Class of 2022

Polyclinic Week encompassed a series of activities revolving around key healthcare themes, including the importance of step-down care, the need for integrated healthcare facilities catering to healthcare needs of the neighbouring community and the evolving nature of primary healthcare in the Singapore society.

With Singapore’s greying population, the need for rehabilitative and geriatric care becomes indisputable. Following treatment at tertiary healthcare facilities, such as specialist clinics and hospitals, there needs to be supplementary healthcare at outpatient clinics to ensure complete recovery. We observed polyclinics play this critical role in providing step-down care through the Teamlet Care Model, under which patients with chronic conditions visit the same team of family physicians and allied healthcare professionals for the long-term management of their conditions.

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L-R: me and my team - Venkatesh Rao, Chung Ray Ern, Heather Heng, Chong En Kiat Elijah, Kenny Sung Yun Lai and me

Moreover, we witnessed the segregated clusters within the polyclinic working in unison to provide integrated healthcare. There were acute clinics, chronic clinics, dressing rooms, diabetic retinal photography centres, laboratories processing blood samples and dental clinics with an integrated system to provide holistic treatment to patients with varying conditions, be it acute illnesses, such as influenza infections, or chronic illnesses, such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

Personally, I enjoyed the patient interaction aspect the most. Witnessing the emotions of the patients first hand was indeed a heartening experience as it gave meaning to the simulated patient practices we had been undergoing. At this stage in our medical journey, I believe we should maximise these rare opportunities to truly understand a patient’s experience, for it may be difficult to do so once we have stethoscopes around our necks and scrubs on our torsos.

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