• Vol. 32 No. 6, 717–722
  • 15 November 2003

Aged Care Services in Singapore – An Overview



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Introduction: Aged care services have been rapidly and systematically established in Singapore over the past two decades in anticipation of the challenges that will accompany the rapid ageing of our population. This paper presents an overview of the geriatric services that have developed in Singapore, funding for these services, and aged care-related training programmes for doctors and nurses in Singapore.

Methods: A non-systematic review of journal articles, local conference proceedings and state publications was undertaken.

Results: Geriatric services have evolved rapidly with the establishment of 3 acute geriatric medicine units covering the different sectors of Singapore. Apart from the provision of acute medical care for older persons, geriatricians have also been increasingly involved in the enhancement of community aged care services under the Framework for Integrated Health Services for the Elderly. Concurrently, community services for the elderly have blossomed under the leadership provided by various voluntary welfare organisations. Innovative systems of funding the healthcare needs of older persons have also evolved over the past few years. In recognition of the increasing needs of our ageing population, the medical training curriculum is being continually reviewed to enhance the skills of medical practitioners in Singapore.

Conclusion: Over a short span of 20 years, a comprehensive framework of services has been developed to meet the needs of our ageing population. While much has been accomplished, there is a need for continuous review of our services and healthcare policies to identify areas for further improvement.

The last century has witnessed the establishment of geriatric medicine as a well-recognised medical specialty supported by a respectable body of evidence, which shows that it is able to improve the health outcomes of frail older persons. Since the pioneering work of Marjory Warren in the 1930s, different models of geriatric care have evolved in different parts of the world, with the most comprehensive services being found in countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia.

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