With the haze menacingly permeating Singapore air, practitioners from healthcare institutions and those from nursing homes across the country say they are carrying out different measures to shield those under their care, most especially those confined in rooms without air-conditioning.
As told to CNA, Dr Goh at Changi General Hospital (CGH), said that a “multi-pronged” approach has been implemented to guarantee the safety of patients and staff.
“In wards without air conditioning, portable air cooling units and air purifiers are deployed, and screens to prevent the inflow of haze are fitted where necessary.”
CGH’s ventilation systems are also fitted with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, added Dr Goh. These are filters that trap harmful particles in the air.
CGH is likewise monitoring the number of patients with respiratory-related conditions, and those patients who have medical conditions that make them susceptible to the haze have been given suitable respirators for support where advised by doctors.
Another group implementing steps to maintain indoor air quality is the National University Health System (NUHS) – which manages several hospitals, including National University Hospital, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Alexandra Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital. This includes shutting windows in the naturally-ventilated patient areas and deploying portable air cooling and purifying units.
“Filters are installed to the air-conditioning systems in the buildings to minimise pollutants and smell in the air. We have a good supply of essential supplies … medicine, eye drops, inhalers, surgical masks and N95 masks,” said the spokesperson. “Staff who are susceptible to the haze condition will be redeployed to work indoors.”
At Alexandra Hospital, security personnel wear masks when deployed outdoors for patrolling, while the daily frequency for grounds keeping, such as portering and landscaping, has been reduced.
At NUHS polyclinics, the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with existing chronic respiratory and heart diseases are given priority for consultations and treatment.
In response to media inquiries, “The healthcare institutions take reference from the National Environment Agency’s guidelines on indoor air quality, in managing the particulate matter (PM) levels in indoor spaces,” said the Ministry of Health.
Nursing homes too
Nursing homes have also been proactive in battling the haze.
At Thong Teck Home for Senior Citizens, initiatives are effected to make sure that residents in the non air-conditioned nursing home are protected when the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) exceeds 100.
Haze updates are disseminated to all key personnel every two hours through a central information kiosk, said the home’s deputy nursing officer, SN Santie Antonio Soria, with fans being turned on at all times, and face masks being made available to residents, staff and visitors.
In addition to making use of air purifiers and monitoring residents for adverse reactions to the haze, it also conducts less intensive rehabilitation activities in air-conditioned areas.
“We place emphasis on hydration for patients/residents and have been brewing drinks like barley water for them and staff as well,” added Ren Ci.
All outdoor activities in the nursing home have also been cancelled till further notice. -/TISG