AARP International
Singapore
Case Study

Using a whole-of-government approach and reorganizing its healthcare system, Singapore has emerged as a global leader in an integrated, community-centered approach to healthy aging.


Subjects
Aging In Place
Healthcare Access
Long-Term Care

The focus: As a rapidly aging country, Singapore urgently needs to ensure that its care systems for older adults promote healthy aging and active participation in their communities. 

How it works: Singapore has been among the first countries to offer a model of integrated, patient-centric, team-based healthcare for older adults, moving away from a traditional focus on acute healthcare. In 2012, the country developed an integrated aging-ready health system, shifting from care for specific diseases to more holistic care provided at the local level. Regional healthcare systems (RHSs)—six established in 2008, consolidated into three in 2018—co-ordinate care that emphasizes prevention and health promotion for all levels of care, including self-management of chronic disease.

Enabling environment: A forward-thinking, pragmatic policy environment in Singapore is behind the reorganization of the care system to prioritize older adults and prepare for healthy long-term aging. The government has co-ordinated efforts to prepare the health system to serve older adults and promote healthy aging, bringing together a variety of agencies with differing mandates that all impact the lives of older adults, including representatives from the Ministries of Health, Social and Family Development, and Transport. In addition to close cross-ministry co-ordination, healthcare providers, public health experts, health administrators, private sector actors, community groups and older adults are involved in policymaking and the suite of programs for improving older adults’ healthy aging and wellbeing. This level of co-ordination among ministries is itself innovative. Changes to healthcare funding and buy-in from the private sector healthcare system have also helped to successfully transform Singapore's system to RHSs and the patchwork of supports and care pathways for older adults.

Impact: Singapore exemplifies targeted co-ordination of care services across the whole of government for older adults. Population-level impacts are still forthcoming since they will require more years of data. However, initial results from the RHSs indicate that they have improved care processes, sped up patient recovery and shortened lengths of hospitalization.


Sources Include

Sources include: 

Lim WS, Wong SF, Leong I, et al. Forging a frailty-ready healthcare system to meet population ageing. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2017;14(12):1448. 

Rogerson A, Stacey S. Successful ageing in Singapore. Geriatrics. 2018;3(4):81.

SINGAPORE’S LONG-TERM CARE SYSTEM ADAPTING TO POPULATION AGING. ADB. Available from: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/637416/singapore-care-system-population-aging.pdf.

Earn LC. Singapore [Internet]. The Commonwealth Fund. Available from: https://www.commonwealthfund.org/international-health-policy-center/countries/singapore.

Close