The Lien Foundation and Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) have introduced the Air Master service, targeting patients with chronic heart and lung conditions.
This service, part of a wider initiative called the Breathlessness Ecosystem, is developed with an investment of S$5.8 million. It aims to assist patients in managing symptoms like breathlessness and improving their overall quality of life. The launch was held on Thursday 16 November at AWWA Centre.
Addressing Chronic Conditions
Statistics show that 5.9% of Singaporeans suffer from chronic lung diseases and 4.5% from heart diseases, with a majority experiencing breathlessness. This condition often leads to decreased physical activity and social isolation among patients, with some also developing depression or anxiety.
The Role of Air Master
Air Master, initially partnered with AWWA, Ren Ci Hospital, and St Luke’s ElderCare, offers a ten-week holistic rehabilitation program. It includes:
- Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation sessions
- Educational resources for managing conditions
- Nurse-led assessments for physical and psychological issues
- Referrals to general practitioners and specialists as needed
- Peer support activities
This service is fully funded and includes transport vouchers for patients. Over the next five years, it aims to enroll around 800 patients.
Broader Objectives of the Breathlessness Ecosystem
The Breathlessness Ecosystem, encompassing Air Master, seeks to extend care beyond hospitals into community settings. It plans to involve polyclinics and general practitioners in early detection and referral processes, covering various services including rehabilitation and preventive education.
“Air Master is bringing together care from different specialities – rehabilitation, cardiology, respiratory, palliative, and allied health – for a community-based approach to helping patients manage their breathlessness and other debilitating symptoms. Through continued efforts to increase awareness and access to early rehabilitation, we want more patients to start managing their symptoms early, slow their functional decline, and reduce the need for hospitalisations throughout the trajectory of their disease, which can last for many years. We want patients to better understand and manage their conditions, which will then translate to more independent and meaningful lives,” said Dr Neo Han Yee, Breathlessness Ecosystem Project Lead and Head of Palliative Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Managing and Expanding Care
TTSH will manage and expand the ecosystem, conducting research to assess its impact on patients and the healthcare system. The system is designed to align patients with appropriate care based on their condition’s severity.
Potential Benefits and Goals
This initiative is expected to help patients manage symptoms more effectively within the community. Additionally it could potentially reduce hospital readmissions. It also aims to lessen the financial burden of care, especially in the later stages of heart and lung failure, which currently incur significant healthcare costs.
The introduction of the Air Master service and the Breathlessness Ecosystem marks an effort by the Lien Foundation and TTSH to improve the care and quality of life for patients with chronic heart and lung conditions in Singapore. Therefore, this initiative represents a shift towards more community-focused healthcare support for these patients.