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IMH upgrades inpatient children psychiatric ward



Singapore’s only children psychiatric ward at the Institute of Mental Health/Woodbridge Hospital (IMH) has been upgraded and now offers better services to meet the needs of young patients.
Mr Chan Soo Sen, Patron of IMH’s Woodbridge Hospital Endowment Fund and Minister of State for Education, graced the official opening of the new ward, named Child Guidance Clinic – Sunrise Wing, in a ceremony at IMH on Wednesday, 4 May 2005.
The children’s ward at IMH/WH dates back to 1993 when it began accepting inpatients from IMH’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Since then, the ward has been admitting an average of 200 children a year.
Patients are first assessed by child psychiatrists at IMH’s Child Guidance Clinic located at the Health Promotion Board Building. Those who require inpatient treatment are then referred to the Child Guidance Clinic – Sunrise Wing.
Outpatient attendance for children and adolescents had risen slightly from 10,089 in 2002 to 10,946 in 2004. The number of new patients seen had similarly rose from 2,035 patients in 2002 to 2,106 patients in 2004.
The old children’s ward was rather spartan as nothing much was done since its opening in 1993. In April 2004, Jardine Cycle & Carriage donated $600,000 to the WH Endowment Fund. $300,000 from that donation was set aside to upgrade the children’s ward into a new 20-bed ward.
With the upgrading, IMH/WH is now better able to meet the needs of its young patients. For instance, patients with similar acuity can now be segregated so that care can be optimised for each group.
An outdoor rehabilitation facility has been added and the ward made more attractive and hospitable to children and youths. The 24-hour medically supervised ward now offers a more cheery and conducive environment for patients.
Patients admitted to the Child Guidance Clinic – Sunrise Wing are usually made up of young people who exhibit some or all of the following:

- suicidal behaviour or thoughts,

- aggressive behaviour towards others or property,

- behaviour that put youngsters at risk, such as running away or sexual promiscuity,

- impaired view of reality or bizarre behaviour,

- extreme social withdrawal including school refusal,

- opposition, defiant behaviour beyond the control of adults at home or in school,

- severe non-compliance with medical treatment

The average length of stay for children or adolescents is about 14 days. Treatment involves multi-disciplinary (namely psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, nurses, etc) evaluation and intervention.
Out of the nearly 200 patients admitted in 2004, the most common types of mental disorders were Situational Reaction, followed by Depression, Behavioural Problems and Psychosis.
"Mental Health is part of the overall well -being of a child and adolescent. It is not a moral failure or character weakness when a child or adolescent has mental health problems but early recognition of symptoms and interventions will help the child or adolescent cope better. The Child Guidance Clinic - Sunrise Wing offers an aspect of such interventions for serious mental health problems,” said Dr Daniel Fung[1], Deputy Chief, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health and Consultant Psychiatrist, Child Guidance Clinic.
Currently, IMH is the only hospital in Singapore with an inpatient children’s ward designed to treat and care for young patients up to the age of 18 with mental health disorders.
In the next phase of upgrading, an outpatient Child Guidance Clinic will be sited within the ward to offer one-stop integrated mental health services to patients. Patients can also be followed up in the same facility as an outpatient upon discharge. Ward-based educational intervention will be introduced to cater to the needs of inpatients as well as outpatients on day treatment programmes who are not ready to return to school.
[1] Dr Daniel Fung is the Deputy Chief, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health and a Consultant Psychiatrist with the Child Guidance Clinic, Singapore. He has a special interest in emotional disorders and developmental disorders (including learning disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) in children and youths.

Source: Institute of Mental Health Press Release 4 May 2005



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14 May 2005