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Patient Support Programmes during COVID-19

Now that many of us are working from home and with face-to-face meetings restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations have to rethink how they work. For the Department of Psychosocial Oncology (DPO), face-to-face interactions are a critical part of counselling and support group activities. We find out how DPO is adapting so that they can continue to provide support to patients.

Support Groups

While there are more than 10 different support groups, NCCS is currently running a combined, mixed support group using the online video conferencing programme, Zoom. The group is open to patients and caregivers from various support groups. With the current restrictions that prevent meeting in a large group, this online platform allows patients and caregivers to connect, share and give each other support.

The groups also have online talks by experts covering a range of topics from pain management, traditional Chinese medicine and mindfulness, to name a few.

 Travis Zoom Session WEB.jpg

Medical Social Worker Travis facilitates an online support group session.

Patient and Caregiver Counselling

Under the Phase 2 safe reopening, DPO has started face-to-face counselling sessions with social distancing measures.

The restrictions that COVID-19 has introduced have given DPO a chance to review how they traditionally deliver services to patients. Online modes of extending counselling services are increasingly being used. For both patients and caregivers, these new models of care have been received with a mixture of excitement and curiosity. In some ways, they offer something new and perhaps even better way of interaction.

“Our focus has always been about survivorship for patients beyond treatment. In the future, the department may consider a combination of both face-to-face and online counselling. This will allow flexibility and convenience for patients and caregivers as they can save time and effort of commuting to NCCS,” says Ms Saryna Ong, Acting Head of the Department of Psychosocial Oncology.


Project SMART

At the SingHealth Community Care Facility (CCF) at Expo, the Resident Experience and Staff Wellness domain leads who are allied health professionals from SGH and the National Cancer Centre Singapore led an initiative for personal grooming within the Expo halls for migrant worker residents. Many of the residents had gone without a shave and a haircut for weeks and months due to the COVID -19 situation. Named "Project SMART", the idea behind the initiative is to give the migrant worker residents the opportunity for hair grooming as part of well-being.

It is a common practice among migrant workers to give each other haircuts in the dormitories. To meet this very basic need and for a sense of well-being and normalcy for those staying at CCF@Expo , the SingHealth Resident Experience Team worked with NGO Health Serve, SingEx, Certis, Managing Agents, Resorts World Sentosa and SingHealth Infection Prevention and Control team to set out dedicated areas within SingHealth Halls 7 to 10 to provide the supervised hair grooming service. Hair clippers and supervised disinfecting processes were put in place for the migrant worker residents to get haircuts and trim beards for one another during their stay at the CCF. Although simply furnished, the scheduled service is a welcome addition to the existing amenities to make the migrant worker patients comfortable.

“I am delighted to be involved in this project, knowing that this simple idea means a lot to the residents here. I'm honoured to work with a highly motivated team who is determined to make this happen. This is one of our small ways of meeting the needs of our migrant workers during this difficult time,” said Ms Tan Yee Pin, Head, Department of Psychosocial Oncology, Resident Experience and Staff Wellness Domain Lead at CCF@Expo.



Article from Lianhe Wanbao, 26 May 2020


Ms Tan Yee Pin, Head, Department of Psychosocial Oncology

For more information about the support groups, please contact the Department of Psychosocial Oncology at +65 6588 0520 / 6225 5655 or email at for more details of our services. 

Alternatively, you can find out more about the Department and their services by clicking here.