It was a lively scene at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) lobby on Saturday, 16 February 2019, as 32 long-stay patients were all dressed up and excited about their trip to the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) with 42 psychiatry residents, faculty, staff nurses and administrative staff.
The annual day trip, co-organised by National Healthcare Group (NHG) Psychiatry Residency Programme and the Singapore Young Psychiatrists and Trainees, was held in conjunction with NHG’s Psychiatry Residency Day. It was designed as part of the programme’s efforts to give back to the patients and the community.
This year, the participants were given a rare opportunity to embark on a personalised guided tour of the ACM, courtesy of its volunteers and management; allowing the participants to immerse themselves into the museum’s rich cultural history.
Many patients were able to relate to the stories shared by the guides, evoking heart-warming and meaningful memories about their own life experiences.
One patient related fond memories he had of his grandparents, which surfaced after a tour of the museum’s beautiful ceramics collection. And for another patient, the traditional ornaments on display brought back memories of festivals that she used to celebrate with her family as she recalled with a glint in her eyes.
This was the side of the patients which residents (trainees) did not often get to see.
The visit to the ACM was a good reminder to us (residents) that learning is really a two-way process. Opportunities abound to strengthen the relationship with our patients simply by understanding more about their life experiences, and taking it into account when tailoring their care plans.
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