The Singapore Family Physician

Back to issue Vol 42 No. 4 - Complex Care

Primary Care for Seniors with Complex Needs

Ng Wai Chong
The Singapore Family Physician Vol 42 No 4 - Complex Care
6 - 13
1 October 2016
Singapore is one of the fastest ageing populations in the world. With this, there will a higher demand for health and social care services, especially because of the higher prevalence of chronic diseases and the associated cognitive and physical disability. With frailty and disability, the psychosocial determinants of health become ever more compelling. Primary Care plays a crucial role in the care of frail seniors with complex needs because of its accessibility, comprehensiveness, community-focus, continuity and thus its ability to integrate and coordinate all the care partners into a coherent team. There are a few primary care models that have been codified based on these principles, such as the Patient-centered Medical Home, the Age-friendly Primary Health Care Centre and the Home-based Primary Care. These models require tremendous commitment and effort, and resources to materialize. However, there are a few operational and clinical practices that family doctors in Singapore can adopt that will help seniors with complex needs. These are: relationship-based practice; patient-centred access; team-based care; special attention on transition; comprehensive needs assessment; care planning; medications and specialist appointment reviews; care communication and support for caregivers.