What is chronic disease?
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic disease can be described as “conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both”. These progressive diseases are significant causes of illness and death, and can last for extended periods of time and require long-term treatment.
Based on a report from the World Health Organisation (WHO), chronic disease accounted for 83% of all deaths in Singapore back in 2002. On top of that, there is also a large percentage of Singaporeans that are suffering from more than one chronic illness all at once. With such an alarming figure, this has prompted the Ministry of Health to launch the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) in October 2006.
What is the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP) in Singapore?
The Chronic Disease Management Programme, or CDMP, was established with the intention of improving the level of care for chronic disease patients and alleviating medical costs by making treatment more accessible and affordable for Singaporeans. Essentially, this was a national effort to improve the overall management of chronic disease in the country. Besides chronic physical illnesses, the CDMP also covers several mental illnesses as well.
The 20 chronic diseases that are covered in this programme are:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia
- Bipolar disorder
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Diabetes mellitus
- Hyperlipidemia (lipid disorders)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Ischaemic heart disease
- Major depression
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Major Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases
These are some of the most common risk factors in relation to chronic illnesses:
Background Risk Factors (Non-Modifiable)
Background risk factors are non-modifiable, which means they cannot be changed in any way.
Ageing often leads to a decline in one’s health. As we get older, sometimes age-related chronic diseases are inevitable. Examples of these conditions include Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Even one’s gender can be a risk factor for chronic diseases. There are some conditions that are more prominent with one gender, or perhaps illnesses that only one gender can acquire. For instance, only men can be diagnosed with prostate cancer and only women can have ovarian cancer.
A person’s hereditary background can also increase the risk of acquiring a chronic disease. If your family has a history of a particular chronic disease, there’s a chance that you may have it as well. Common examples of multifactorial genetic inheritance disorders include heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.
Behavioural Risk Factors (Modifiable)
Behavioural risk factors refer to behaviours or lifestyle habits that can be changed.
A healthy and balanced diet is essential for us to function well on a daily basis from the nutrients found in our food. For children, a healthy diet helps them to develop and grow properly. As for adults, it allows them to live longer and reduce the risk of chronic disease altogether. Some conditions that are related to poor diets include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, some cancers, and poor bone health.
Lack of Physical Activity
The lack of exercise or physical activity increases the risk of many major adverse health conditions such as coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and even obesity. Regular physical activity allows your body to function properly. A lack of exercise may cause detrimental effects and deteriorate your health significantly.
For many years, the use of tobacco has been highly linked to several health problems and chronic illnesses. In fact, it is still the leading cause of premature illness and death in high-income countries. Smoking can cause deadly diseases like cancer, stroke, lung disease, heart disease and other chronic health conditions, and may also impact others’ health through secondhand smoke.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Drinking alcohol in moderate amounts is completely acceptable, but excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing a range of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes. Be sure to drink in moderation to prevent these risks.
In a report from the World Health Organisation on the impact of chronic disease in Singapore, 80% of premature stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as 40% of cancer could be prevented through a healthy diet, regular exercise or physical activity, and refraining from tobacco products. With that, altering your lifestyle to eliminate behavioural risk factors is also a form of prevention.
Other chronic disease risk factors include hypertension (raised blood pressure), raised cholesterol, raised blood glucose, and obesity.
Where can I gain access to CDMP in Singapore?
To make this programme as accessible as possible to all Singaporeans, the CDMP is available at more than 1,100 General Practice (GP) clinics, at all polyclinics, public hospitals, Specialist Outpatient Clinics (SOCs) and at participating private specialists clinics. The sheer amount of clinics and hospitals providing this programme ensures that all chronic disease patients can have access to treatment and systematic, evidence-based chronic disease management under the CDMP at virtually any place.
To check for participating CDMP General Practice (GP) clinics near you, click here.
MediSave Use for Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP)
Thankfully, individuals can use their MediSave to pay for their treatment to lessen the out-of-pocket cash payments for outpatient chronic disease bills. The main purpose of Medisave is to help Singaporeans afford the costly hospitalisation bills.
Under the MediSave500 scheme, patients can use up to $500 per account per year and even tap on their family member’s Medisave (up to 10 accounts) to cover their outpatient bills. Regardless of whether the bill is for a package or a one-off visit, each claim is subject to a 15% co-payment in cash.
MediSave is claimable for services such as:
- Allied health services including nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, dietician and podiatry services that are referred by your doctor for your chronic conditions
- Medical consultations if you have been diagnosed with any of the identified chronic diseases under the CDMP and/or its complications
- Medication to manage the identified conditions and/or their complications
- Relevant investigations (including laboratory and radiological procedures such as X-rays) for the evaluation of the identified chronic conditions and/or its complications
Examples of non-claimable support services include cooking courses, exercise support, gym classes, health coaching, nutritional counselling, sleep management and stress management.
If you wish to track the amount of MediSave used under the CDMP, you can log onto the CPF website with your SingPass. Alternatively, you may also ask your clinic to check your MediSave balances under the CDMP on your behalf.
How can I participate in the CDMP?
The process of participating in this scheme is relatively simple—all you have to do is visit a participating clinic or medical institution to make MediSave claims. During the first visit, you may present the symptoms of your chronic disease and the medical personnel will perform a clinical assessment. If you have already been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you may bring along any necessary documents or past clinical records for your doctor’s reference.
Why is there a need for Chronic Disease Management Programmes?
Chronic illnesses have a serious impact on individuals and society in the long run. If not treated as soon as possible, it may cause their physical body to deteriorate, gravely affecting the quality of life of chronic disease patients over time. Since these conditions are also long-term and progressive, it can also be costly on the patients’ end and put a strain on their finances.
Through programmes like these, managing chronic disease(s) and related medical costs have been made easier. A large part of the financial load is taken off the patients and their families. This also promotes self-management among patients and allows them to feel a sense of empowerment despite the challenges.
Singapore’s Chronic Disease Management Programme is just one of the many options that chronic disease patients can tap onto to receive treatment. There are various financial schemes and subsidies available to support with the cost of healthcare services in Singapore.
Elderly patients with chronic disease who have limited mobility or additional medical conditions such as arthritis may experience difficulty travelling from one place to another, let alone physically visiting a hospital or clinic. However, these individuals require and deserve appropriate medical care and attention for their chronic disease too. With home care service providers like Homage, elderly patients may receive medical treatment and assistance in their own homes. Since everyone has different needs, each patient will be taken care of in accordance to their preferences and care requirements through holistic home care services.
Apart from assisting with basic ADLs, nursing duties, and home therapy, we also have a team of certified doctors and medical personnel to help with more complex issues through face-to-face visits or virtual consultations with our online doctors. Many of our Care Professionals are also experienced in caring for individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Learn more about how home care services can impact the life of your elderly loved one here.
- About Chronic Diseases. (2020, October 07). Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/index.htm
- Steinberg, A., TS. Scheuermann, K., SC. Gorber, S., JJ. Prochaska, W., AR. Feinstein, C., Feinstein, A., . . . JR. Hughes, J. (1970, January 01). Ask about smoking, not quitting: A chronic disease approach to assessing and treating tobacco use. Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://ascpjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13722-019-0159-z
- Preventing chronic diseases: A vital investment. (2015, December 21). Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://www.who.int/chp/chronic_disease_report/en/
- Trusted Holistic Home Healthcare Services in Singapore. (2020, October 26). Retrieved October 26, 2020, from https://www.homage.sg/services/