TL;DR – Volunteers strive to not only provide a comfortable environment for the recovery of COVID-19 patients, but they also do their utmost best to ensure that their emotional and psychological health are being taken care of.
As part of the Government’s nation-wide effort to provide a comfortable environment for in-recovery or early-onset COVID-19 patients to rest and recover, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) was appointed the Managing Agent for the Community Care Facility (CCF) at Singapore EXPO and MAX Atria in April this year.
It has been a little over a month since Singapore EXPO & MAX Atria has been repurposed as a CCF, with 2,100 RWS volunteers stepping up to help provide services at the CCF.
Granted that all volunteers have received thorough and comprehensive training on safety protocols and procedures, by infection control specialists from Parkway Pantai and Woodlands Health Campus, prior to commencing their volunteer work, but have you ever wondered, what makes them decide to roll up their sleeves and partake in this ‘high-risk’ job?
Curious, we reached out to two volunteers from RWS who have kindly shed some light on their volunteering experience with us!
Embarking on a unique mission
Mr Tan Kian Ruey, 34, who has been working with RWS for ten years signed up to be a volunteer at the CCF without hesitation.
“Since I am young, healthy, and able-bodied, there is nothing stopping me from serving in such a meaningful way in times of a national crisis. My family, loved ones and myself are fully aware of my involvement,” shared Kian Ruey.
His family is very proud of his decision and glad that he is able to contribute to a purposeful cause for the nation. To set their worries aside, Kian Ruey also gave them the assurance that relevant training would be conducted by the medical team to ensure he serves in his role safely.
Ms May Lee, 42, has too put her hand up to volunteer at the CCF after discussing with her husband, who was equally supportive of her decision.
The mother-of-three shared that she was truly excited to be a part of the national effort to fight COVID-19 as she has always respected and admired the healthcare professionals, especially the frontliners, for their dedication, hard work and sacrifices.
Keeping everyone safe
Besides the usual Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), face shield, and N95 mask which volunteers are required to put on before starting their duties in caring for the COVID-19 patients, all volunteers are also trained by the medical team on how to wear and de-gown their PPE properly.
The process of gowning and de-gowning of the PPE is also carefully supervised by the onsite medical team to ensure compliance with medical protocol and procedures.
When on duty, volunteers are also expected to maintain safe distancing for everyone’s health and safety.
Necessary arrangements are also put in place for volunteers to shower on-site after their duties to ensure that they are thoroughly washed down and sanitised before calling the day off.
As such, Kian Ruey has full confidence in the protective gear and the processes in place that will ensure everyone’s health and safety.
Distributing Care Packs to residents
Understandably, some of the COVID-19 patients, who are referred to as residents, have little reaction time when they are tested positive for COVID-19 before being transferred to the CCF. Thus, they may not have daily necessities with them when they arrive.
As such, the volunteers at RWS have put together the RWS Care Packs that come with basic daily necessities such as toiletries, shower kit, washing powder, bed linen, towels, cup, and beverages.
The Care Pack, replenishable, would help to ease any immediate inconvenience faced by the residents during the temporary change of living environment.
Engaging the residents
Kian Ruey, who is an Attractions, Resorts & Entertainment Union (AREU) working committee member, is very involved in patient engagement as a Relationship Manager.
A typical day at the CCF sees him walking the ground to listen, engage, and understand the needs of the residents. And where possible, the volunteers will do their best to improve the conditions and processes based on residents’ feedback. This is to ensure that the residents can fully concentrate on their recovery without having to worry during their stay at the facility, he explained.
Other than having to care for residents’ physical well-being, Relationship Managers would also try to meet the residents’ mental and emotional needs to their best abilities. For instance, Relationship Managers would endeavor to understand if there are any personal issues or difficulties faced by the residents.
“Some miss their families back home and others need help to deliver personal items. Many times, just by lending a listening ear, we brought much relief and comfort to them”.
A hotline is also available for residents to reach out to the staff at any one time for any queries or requests.
Residents’ dietary requirements
Apart from the usual ground engagement, volunteers also see to other duties such as noting down any food allergy during the registration when residents are first admitted to the CCF, as well as getting the meals ready for residents to collect during their mealtimes.
Depending on the residents’ dietary requirements and preferences, vegetarian and halal options are available as well. During Ramadan, festive items such as dates are also prepared for the Muslim residents when they break their fast.
On top of the three main meals, volunteers also occasionally provide snacks in between their meals.
When asked if the residents are satisfied with their food, Kian Ruey said, “I can say the majority of the residents are very happy and satisfied with their meals and we continue to look for areas of improvement”.
Having volunteered and being involved in such a meaningful work alongside with government agencies and industry leaders, both Kian Ruey and May are humbled by the experience, and to be able to play a part in helping Singapore overcome the pandemic.
Kian Ruey described his experience to be a memorable one owing to the “RWS kampung spirit” demonstrated throughout this period.
“Everyone watches out for one another and steps in whenever help is needed or when someone is overwhelmed, ensuring all gaps are filled when working towards a common goal.
We are all here as one team regardless of rank and file, and this is indeed a very important and exceptional way to contribute to Singapore. It is also a very special moment for me in my career.”
A Whole-of-Community Partnership
True to the Singapore spirit, the CCF at Singapore Expo has been an extremely complex and large-scale project with meticulous planning under strong timeline pressures, and with people from different agencies banding together in times of crisis.
“We are deeply honoured to be involved in this meaningful work, in a Whole-of-Community partnership that combines and leverages the strengths and expertise across government agencies and industry leaders, including Parkway Pantai, SingHealth, SAF and Woodlands Health Campus,” said an RWS spokesperson.
It sure is heartening to see how RWS rises to the occasion, especially during this difficult time, to ensure the job security of all its employees, while also giving them the opportunity to be meaningfully engaged and contribute to the nation’s effort to overcome COVID-19.
I truly believe that Singapore will be one of the nations that will emerge stronger from this, because together we can! #SGUnited