Back in May, Singapore saw many nursing home staff move to stay on-site or at designated facilities to safeguard the residents from COVID-19 transmission. SPD’s physiotherapist Chan Hui Mui, who serves at a nursing home, looked back on her experience living away from home during the circuit breaker period.
My first thoughts… I wasn’t sure how to react initially. But I knew that it was important for me to be isolated to prevent any outbreak in the nursing home that I was serving.
I stayed at… the nursing home which converted one of its levels into a living space for staff who had to stay onsite during circuit breaker.
A typical day looked like this… Temperature-taking was the first thing I do before going to the Resident’s Living Area which I was in-charge of. After that, I’ll plan and start therapy sessions with the residents. The residents and staff were served catered meals for lunch and dinner. I’d return to my room after work as we were not allowed to leave the compound. Delivery became our lifeline if we needed any necessities.
Challenges faced… There were multiple measures in place to protect the well-being of the residents, such as having dedicated equipment for each resident which they cannot share with others. This meant that the residents had to use the same equipment for a period of time. Furthermore, the residents were not allowed to roam freely around the nursing home due to safe distancing measures. Most of them felt bored and occasionally got restless. It was a challenge to motivate and engage some of them but with some creativity, I managed to conduct activities with the residents using the equipment that each of them was allocated to.
What kept me going… was the support from my friends and family. They often called to check in on me.
During the stay… I spent a lot of time watching Hong Kong drama outside work. I definitely saw an improvement in my Cantonese proficiency. 🙂
My greatest takeaway…The stay has given me a different outlook in life. It is not easy to stay in a confined space for a prolonged period. It helped me to put things in perspective with regards to what are the important things in life to me – my family and being able to provide physiotherapy services to the elderly.
We take this opportunity to thank each and everyone out there who had made or is still making sacrifices, big and small, to help Singapore progress in this ongoing fight against COVID-19.