This is the third in mosAIC’s profile series featuring selected Singapore Health Quality Service Awards 2019 (SHQSA) Superstar Award winners. mosAIC speaks to Dr Kala on her most memorable experiences in the Community Care sector.
“Many years ago, I realised that I love working with the elderly in the community when I was posted to a community hospital as a medical officer. After that stint, I decided to pursue family medicine and community geriatrics and have not looked back since.
The Community Care sector has given me more opportunities to contribute to the elderly. This area is constantly evolving and there is so much that can be done, allowing me to explore and learn beyond my work as a clinician.
I recently spent a good part of my time in quality improvement and patient safety. My proudest achievement was the Trial-off Tracheostomy (TOT) project. We managed to help more than 15 patients with a tracheostomy to breathe on their own. Their families were immensely happy and grateful.
One of the most unforgettable experiences in my medical career was during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) period. I was the medical director at a community hospital then, and saw through the entire SARS period with the team. We initiated infection control and learnt about pandemic preparedness to safely pull through that episode together.
There have been many wonderful and humbling memories from the past 25 years in the sector. I’ve had stroke or hip fracture patients who, after medical care and rehabilitation, were able to return home with minimal help. To me, their joy was priceless.
As a visiting medical consultant to several nursing homes for almost 20 years now, the staff and elderly there have become family. When I go away for a holiday, some tell me that they miss me. It brings me so much joy to see them smile.
Winning the Superstar Award at the SHQSA spurs me to continue my work not only as a doctor and administrator, but also as a volunteer reaching out to the less privileged here and abroad. I hope that this will inspire more young doctors and health workers to look at joining the Community Care sector.”