Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Superstar Physiotherapist – Yap Thian Yong, Physiotherapist, Rehabilitation Services, St Luke’s Hospital

This is the final feature in mosAIC’s profile series featuring selected Singapore Health Quality Service Awards 2019 (SHQSA) Superstar Award winners. mosAIC speaks to Thian Yong, Physiotherapist from St Luke’s Hospital, on why he decided to enter the Community Care sector.


“During my clinical attachment as a student physiotherapist, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my patients and getting to know them better. I also saw for myself how they gradually regained their physical capabilities as they progressed with their rehabilitation. I felt immense job satisfaction. That was when I knew the Community Care sector was the industry for me.

My job gives me the opportunity to understand my patients, which in turn, enables me to tailor their rehabilitation programmes to reintegrate them into the community. It brings me joy and a sense of fulfilment to see my patients up and about. I have been working in the Community Care sector for close to four years now and look forward to improving my patients’ abilities. Seeing their daily progress motivates me to do even better.

I remember the rehabilitation of the first stroke patient in my professional career. When he first came to St Luke’s Hospital (SLH), he was unable to get out of bed. My supervisor and I worked together on a rehabilitation plan for him. After a month, he was able to get out of bed with assistance and sit upright without support. After another month, he was able to walk with assistance from his caregiver and was discharged from inpatient care. It was an eye-opening experience for me.

The patient had speech difficulty initially and communicated with us through sounds and gestures. After spending two weeks with him, I was able to understand him reasonably well.  After our rehab programme, the patient gained some independence from his caregiver, which was in turn, a huge relief for his caregiver. Before the programme, she had not expected him to be able to get out of bed and walk again, even with assistance.

I am constantly looking for ways to improve patient care. As part of the Care Innovation Programme at SLH, I conducted trials using a ceiling-mounted track harness that supports patients when they do walking and balancing exercises. The harness trials were successful and were eventually incorporated into our rehab programme.

It is an honour to receive the Superstar Award at the SHQSA. The award reaffirms the efforts of the allied health professionals at the frontline of patient care. I will continue to work on care innovation to improve on my work with my patients. I hope that sharing my experiences and fulfilment of being able to rehabilitate and reintegrate patients into the community will inspire more people to join the sector."

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