Last week, we caught up with one of our locum Occupational Therapists, Adelene. Adelene was a former Homecare Manager and has over 20 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist. She is currently a locum Occupational Therapist in the Senior Care Centre.

Having gone through 2003's SARS period, she shared with us about how therapists can better navigate in the current COVID-19 situation. In this article, we would like to introduce Adelene and share some tips on how therapists can still play their part during the COVID-19 season.

1. After years of working in a non-profit community-based organisation, why did you make the switch to become a locum therapist?

I wanted to experience working within other sub-sectors of the eldercare sector, including senior care centres and nursing homes. I had also thought about switching to working part-time to spend more time with my daughter to create more memories with her as she grows up. Furthermore, I wanted extra time to pursue other interests such as volunteering and taking up music lessons.

2. How has your experience of working with Pacific Rehab been thus far?

It has been very pleasant! Here are some ways I have been supported by Pacific Rehab:

  • Matched with assignments according to my preferences (like working hours and setting)

  • Less coordination and paperwork for me to do as Pacific Rehab covers everything from sourcing for assignments to signing the contract

  • Paid directly and timely every month

  • Covered by professional indemnity insurance

  • Given support as I thread into new sub-sectors

  • Receive regular updates via journal articles and training opportunities

  • Given platforms to meet with staff and other locum therapists under Pacific Rehab

3. What motivates you every day? I look forward to making a difference in the lives of the elderly and caregivers each day. Working alongside like-minded colleagues and challenging each other to do more good and do good better motivates me too.

4. What is the greatest fulfilment of working in the Senior Care Centre?

The SCCs provides a continuum of care with its spectrum of services to better meet the multifaceted needs of an elderly. I get to meet and partner with elderly with different needs and strengths, disabilities and capabilities, to lead more independent and fuller lives. Bringing life and energy to a centre to motivate the elderly with my colleagues makes it even more fulfilling!

5. We understand that you were an Occupational Therapist in 2003 when SARS happened. What was something that you learnt during that trying period?

Back in 2003, the organisation that I worked in provided home care services and was a small outfit compared to a hospital. Moreover, Singapore had a lower level of preparedness in handling a sudden and new infectious outbreak. Here were some things I did:

  • Kept abreast of latest development and knowledge of the virus via news and directives from Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation

  • Translated latest development and knowledge into practical daily SOP and advisory to clients (like ceasing/reducing home visits for non-critical services)

  • Donned Personal Protective Equipment to make essential home visits

  • Called clients to check on their well-being

  • Did active contact-tracing

  • Ensured compliance of care staff and clients (like travel declaration, temperature taking)

6. Do you have any advice for therapists during this season of COVID-19?

  • Stay abreast of latest development knowledge of COVID-19

  • Where possible, continue to make a difference to our clients and their caregivers despite additional inconveniences (like phone or video calling to ensure their well-being)

  • Where possible, take initiative or offer to help various efforts in the community

  • In compliance with health advisories and government directives, continue activities that would help us retain some normalcy, while maintaining social distancing, and engage in activities that help us relax or lift up our spirits as we stay home more frequently

  • Lastly, know that this tough time will pass!

Adelene's insights as an Occupational Therapist back in 2003's SARS is certainly helpful as we navigate through COVID-19. In this season, let's stay safe, be physically and mentally healthy, and still do whatever we can (while complying with health advisories) to look out for our clients and their caregivers. Stay tuned for our upcoming post on our social media channels about tips on self care during isolation!

While many of us “give” to others through volunteering efforts or by making monetary donations, our Allied Health Professionals choose to give on a daily basis through their rehabilitation work. Working as a Community-based Physiotherapist at rehabilitation facilities on behalf of Pacific Rehab is not a mere job, but rather, an opportunity to take our passion and use it to make a difference in the lives of our clients within the health community. As of 2019/2020, more than 50 restructured & community-based rehabilitation facilities providing a wide spectrum of rehabilitation programmes, have benefited from the diversity of the Allied Health Professional Services offered by Pacific Rehab & Therapy Pte Ltd. Our range of services spans across Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists to Speech and Language Therapist Services. Our integrated Allied Health Profession (AHP) manpower services support Restructured Hospitals, Community Hospitals, Dementia Daycares, Day Rehabilitation Centers, Maintenance Daycares, Senior Care Centers, and Nursing Homes.

In this article, we would like to introduce one of our Community-based Physiotherapists, Mr. Nashiruddin, who has dedicated his clinical offerings to a local community-based hospital in Singapore. Read on to find our more about his journey with us.

1. How Does Working as a Community-based Physiotherapist Fulfill You?

Being able to see my patients achieve functional independence after going through weeks of rehabilitation in one of our programmes, gives me the greatest satisfaction and makes me want to continue doing this work for as long as I can. This is an invaluable feeling that can never be exchanged for monetary compensation.

2. What Are the Most Important Attributes of Community-based Physiotherapists?

I find that empathy is a very important attribute that helps me build rapport and gain trust with my patients. When they are able to see, feel, and know that I care for them, they will believe in my rehabilitation programme, and in turn, this helps them recover at a better and faster rate.

3. What Motivates You Every Day?

Seeing my two daughter’s smile and hearing their laughter, motivates me to work smart and spend quality time with them after work. Being a locum therapist helps me achieve this, as I only have to focus on clinical-related work, which allows me to leave work on time most days.

4. How Do You Unwind After a Day at Work?

There are several activities that I participate in to help me unwind. This includes

a. Going for a jog with my daughters. I have a double stroller that I push on these jogs.

b. Bringing my daughters down to the playground.

c. Accompanying my daughters to the park where we cycle or play kick scooter.

d. Going out for dinner and spending the rest of the night together, either at home or walking around at the airport.

5. Do You Have Any Suggestions for Full-time Employed Therapists Who Are Considering Locum Positions in Pacific Rehab & Therapy?

Locum positions are fantastic for full-time employed therapists who desire the following.

a. Decent hourly rates with a flexible working schedule,

b. Longer contract terms (1-year),

c. No need to worry about finding new job assignments on contract expiration,

d. Guaranteed hourly increments on a yearly basis,

e. Good administrative and clinical support.

As a community-based locum physiotherapist, it is clear that by being able to focus only on the clinical-environment, Mr. Nashiruddin has been able to foster an excellent rapport with his patients, bringing them from ill-health to functional independence. In being able to do this (without getting burnt out by long hours and paperwork due to working through the agency), Mr. Nashiruddin has found purpose, meaning, and fulfillment, which has driven his passion to help those in his care for as long as he can.

If you are exploring to embark this journey with Pacific Rehab & Therapy, get in touch with us, today! Simply SCAN the QR code to drop us a text and we will get in touch with you!

The challenges of communicating with someone who has dementia are real as they tend to have mood swings, personality changes and behavioral issues. Good communication skills are essential for people who are caring for persons with dementia.

These communication skills help enhance the ability to handle any difficulties that could possibly be encountered because of the behavioral changes caused by dementia.

Our Dementia Care Consultant & Principal Occupational Therapist at Pacific Rehab & Therapy, Ms Prudence Chan provide these five tips on how to best communicate with your loved ones who are diagnosed with dementia.

1. Positive mood

Attitude and body language communicate feelings quite strongly, so when speaking to a person with dementia keep in mind to have a respectful and pleasant manner. This can be achieved with the right tone of voice, facial expressions and a gentle touch, showing feelings of affection.

2. Get their attention

Eye contact is important so if the person is seated you need to get to their level. The area must be quiet and the curtains closed so that they can fully concentrate on you when you speak to them. You need to address them by name, and you should state who you are.

3. Simple speech is most effective

You should speak slowly but distinctly with simple words and sentences. Use a lower pitch of voice and repeat the question if necessary. If you still have no response rephrase it simply. Prefer to use the names of people and phrases rather than pronouns.

4. Keep questions simple

One question at a time is the golden rule. Aim for those that can be answered simply with a no or a yes. Visual prompts and asking them to show you can make the process easier. Alternatively, give them simple choices – avoid creating complicated choices or options for them.

5. When they respond, be attentive

Patience is important as they respond and you can suggest words if they are struggling. Listen and watch for nonverbal clues from their body language.

It's important that you encourage the person to communicate what they want, however they can.

Improving your communication skills will help make care-giving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with dementia with a myriad of symptoms.

About the Author:

Prudence Chan is the Dementia Care Consultant and Principal Occupational Therapist of Pacific Rehab & Therapy.

She is a Fully Registered Allied Health Professionals with AHPC, a graduate of La Trobe University ( Australia ) & is due complete Msc in Dementia Studies in 2020. She is presently the Visiting Dementia Care Consultant Occupational Therapist of Lions Home for the Elders.

Prudence Chan with the late Professor John Starr, Honorary Professor of Health and Aging at the University of Edinburgh and

founding Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Center.