What is Interim Caregiver Service (ICS)?
Interim Caregiver Service (ICS) is a form of transitional care that focuses on providing personal home care for individuals who are medically fit and able to be discharged from the hospital before long-term arrangements are in place. Managed by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) in 2013, this scheme started as a way to accommodate a niche group of individuals who were well enough to be discharged from acute and community hospitals, but still need minor assistance as they continue their recovery at home. Since then, it has helped more than 3,000 people all over Singapore.
The ICS also supports caregivers who are unable to provide the care support for their seniors when they return home after being discharged.
How the Interim Caregiver Service Scheme Works
In general, the ICS scheme is designed to provide temporary nursing care and support for your loved ones while the primary caregiver is away. Trained and certified caregivers will visit your home before the arrival of foreign domestic workers or other caregiving arrangements are in place.
Before Interim Caregiver Services can commence, you have to be referred by discharge nurses and medical social workers from restructured hospitals and community hospitals. The service durations are capped at 12 whole shifts over a two-week period, which will be chosen between day shifts, night shifts, or a combination of both. Typically, day shifts run from 8:00am to 8:00pm while night shifts run from 8:00pm to 8:00am. Should there be an extension beyond the number of shifts provided, an appeal letter can be submitted to AIC which will be subject to approval.
Key Services Provided under Interim Caregiver Service
Similar to general elder care or home care services, there are a host of care services provided to individuals under ICS, such as assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), care tasks, monitoring, medical administration and escort for medical appointments.
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
At this stage of transitional care, many individuals require assistance with basic ADLs as they may not have fully recovered from the medical procedures they have undergone in the hospital. These ADLs include washing, dressing, feeding, toileting, transferring, and functional mobility. Nutrition plans will also be made for the individuals according to their dietary needs and restrictions.
Nursing Care and Procedures
These include simple medical tasks such as nasogastric tube feeding, PEG feeding, tracheostomy suctioning and simple wound dressings. Other care tasks include assistance with medication excluding packing of medications, controlled drugs, and all types of injections.
Medical Administration and Monitoring
To ensure each individual’s optimum safety during recovery, monitoring their vital signs including axillary temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respirations is an important aspect of ICS. During this stage, the end goal is to continue with recovery until long-term care preparations have been arranged. Medical administration is also another key service provided, where medical professionals such as health care managers and and hospital administrators create, plan, and coordinate a personalised care plan to supplement the individual’s recovery.
Escort for Medical Appointments
Certain individuals discharged from acute and community hospitals may experience difficulty with transferring from one place to another and require assistance for outpatient medical appointments. For individuals under the ICS, escorts for medical appointments are available but this does not include transportation.
Other services provided under the Interim Caregiver Service includes rehabilitation or therapy, elder-sitting and respite, maintenance exercises as well as social activities.
Eligibility for Interim Caregiver Services
You will be eligible for ICS if:
- You are admitted at an acute or community hospital
- You are certified to be medically stable for discharge from the hospital, but still requires post-discharge support at home
- You have documentary proof that permanent care arrangements have been and is waiting for it to come into effect (e.g. placement in nursing home or centre-based services, home care service, or the arrival of foreign domestic worker)
- Your referral has been made no later than five (5) calendar days after your discharge from the hospital
How to Apply for Interim Caregiver Service
Once you have fulfilled the above criteria, you may apply for the ICS scheme. Individuals will be referred to the programme by their respective hospitals, where they will generally take care of the application process for them.
Cost of Interim Caregiver Service
Typically, the cost of Interim Caregiver Services starts from S$180 per single day shift with subsidy and S$675 per single day shift without any subsidy.
However, this will still vary depending on the chosen service provider, total number of days, any applicable surcharges, as well as government subsidies.
Payment terms for the ICS scheme will usually be settled before the start of the service and will be invoiced either weekly or monthly, as per the agreed arrangement.
Subsidies for Interim Caregiver Services
Subsidies for all types of healthcare services in Singapore are usually granted to those who come from lower-income households. To be eligible for ICS, a means-test must first be conducted by a certified social worker to determine the government subsidies you will receive when you use this care service. Depending on one’s income level, the amount of subsidies provided can be as much as 80 per cent.
Do note that only Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents who meet the admission criteria are eligible to apply for government subsidies.
For more information on the various subsidies available for the elderly, take a look at our financial guide that will walk you through the different financial assistance schemes, their eligibility criteria and how you can apply for them.
List of Interim Caregiver Service Providers
Active Global Specialised Caregivers
In 2016, Active Global Specialised Caregivers became the first firm from the private sector to provide Interim Caregiver Services. ICS by Active Global are provided by trained foreign healthcare assistants, and the service scope includes assistance with ADLs and medication, elder-sitting, respite care, and performing simple maintenance exercises as prescribed by a medical professional.
Despite being in the private sector, their rates are comparable with its counterparts, which include social enterprises and welfare organisations.
- Website: https://www.activeglobalcaregiver.sg/
- Location: 51 Goldhill Plaza, #12-11
- Telephone: 6536 0086
- Operating Hours: Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm; Saturday from 9:00am to 5:30pm
NTUC Health is a social enterprise dedicated to providing quality and affordable health and eldercare services for Singaporeans. With more than 40 years of experience in this field, they are one of the biggest senior day care, nursing home, and home personal care providers in the country. Just like other providers, NTUC Health’s ICS programme offers temporary support for seniors when their primary caregivers or loved ones are away.
- Website: https://ntuchealth.sg/
- Location: 55 Ubi Ave 1 #08-01
- Telephone: 6590 4300
- Operating Hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 6:00pm
Thye Hua Kwan Nursing Home
Despite being one of the newer care providers compared to its counterparts, THK Nursing Home has won several titles including Best Day Care Operator, Best Smart Care Technology — Operational Management Solution, and Innovation of the Year — Health Programme at the APAC Eldercare Innovation Awards 2020. Over the years, they have decided to include the ICS scheme into their comprehensive range of offerings to cater to the increasing demand for eldercare services in the country.
- Website: https://www.thknh.org.sg/
- Location: 48 Hougang Avenue 8
- Telephone: 6841 2128
- Operating Hours: Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm; Saturday from 9:00am to 1:00pm
Changi General Hospital
Together with NTUC Health and Thye Hua Kwan Nursing Home, the Changi General Hospital became the first hospital in Singapore to pilot the ICS back in 2013 as there were no existing programmes available then which allowed seniors to recuperate in their own homes instead of in the hospital. Since then, CGH’s Health Services Research (HSR) Team has been evaluating the effectiveness of the service and found that many of their patients have expressed high levels of customer satisfaction.
- Website: https://www.cgh.com.sg/
- Location: 2 Simei Street 3
- Telephone: 6788 8833
- Operating Hours: Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 8:00pm; Saturday to Sunday from 8:30am to 12:30pm
Short-Term Caregiving Services with Homage
Homage not only offer temporary care support for seniors after hospital discharge, but we also go the extra mile and ensure that you are matched with the most suitable caregivers and nurses according to your unique care needs and preferences. Our team of trained local Care Professionals can help with simple nursing procedures, personal care, medical services and home therapy post-surgery, while you recover in the comfort of your own home surrounded by the ones closest to you. With Homage, you can book care by the hour, 24/7, and don’t have to be restricted by the duration and number of shifts.
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