Stroke Survivors to get Better Care and Support from the Community

Singapore, 23 October 2004 – Mr Michael Yap was 60 years old when he had his stroke on 1 Jan 2000. The blow was both unexpected and untimely. He had to take a break from his business and instead of being the head of the household for the family, became dependent on his family members for the simplest of daily activities. It was another year before he could resume his normal activities.

Mr Yap’s situation then is not unique. According to the Ministry of Health, stroke is the second most common cause of death worldwide and the fourth leading cause of death in Singapore. Each year, about 10,000 of those hospitalized suffer from stroke. The 90% who survive, many of whom are below 55 years old, have varying degrees of disability and need long-term nursing care.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD) and the Singapore National Stroke Association (SNSA), stroke survivors can now look forward to better care and support. One of the first projects the two organizations have embarked on was the staging of a seminar that served to let stroke survivors and their caregivers know about programmes and services available to help them cope with the condition.

The ‘Life After Stroke Can Be Fulfilling’ Seminar covered a wide spectrum of topics from services available at hospitals and community-based organizations to different forms of rehabilitation and technologies available in the market to help stroke survivors. Speakers included social workers, therapists, nurses and doctors including renowned names like Senior Consultant of National Neuroscience Institute’s Dept of Neurology, Dr N V Ramani, Dr Peter A C Lim, Head & Senior Consultant of Dept of Rehabilitative Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, and Dr Kong Keng He, Head & Senior Consultant of Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s Dept of Rehabilitation Medicine.

The Seminar was held on 23 October at SPD and attended by 170 stroke survivors, caregivers, healthcare and social service workers in hospitals and voluntary welfare organizations. Through this platform, both organizations hope that participating organizations can form working relationships to offer even better programmes and services for the benefit of stroke survivors.

The SPD and SNSA also launched a public education brochure on stroke management to raise awareness of the condition and to make known the services available for stroke survivors. It contains a brief description of stroke, and highlights warning signs, prevention, challenges encountered, programmes and services, and professional help available. The brochure available in four languages is sponsored by Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports and was launched at the Seminar by Miss Indranee Rajah, Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC. It is available at hospitals and voluntary welfare organizations islandwide.

When asked why SPD has taken on this challenge, Executive Director Dr Ow Chee Chung replied, “In recent years, we have seen more young stroke survivors coming to seek support at SPD. We provide rehabilitation and other services for stroke survivors while SNSA is a support group for them. We realized that we could leverage on the synergy between both organisations for the benefit of stroke survivors. Our collaboration will enable more to be done for them and improve their quality of life”.

“Because of the great change in lifestyle after a person has had stroke, many lose hope and feel that their life is over. Through this seminar, we hope to let people know that they can work towards improving their life and that they can still look forward to a full life,” said Mr Michael Yap, who gave his personal testimony at the Seminar as a note of encouragement for stroke survivors.

Mr Yap is living proof of his claims. Today, he keeps himself busy with community work and qigong, even sharing and teaching the ancient Chinese exercise at the Singapore Island Country Club. The former Vice President of SNSA is involved in grassroots activities and has taken up his former hobbies of golfing, dancing and traveling.

Those interested in obtaining a copy of the stroke public education brochure or to find out more about the help available for stroke survivors can contact The Society for the Physically Disabled at 6579 0700 or the Singapore National Stroke Association at
6358 4138, or visit the websites or