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04 Jul 2024|National University Health System

National University Centre for Trauma is focusing on children, older adults, and migrant workers to improve safety and trauma care

Singapore — The National University Hospital (NUH) has launched the National University Centre for Trauma, leading the charge in holistic trauma care, outreach and prevention efforts. Each year, NUH attends to an average of 1,300 severe and critical trauma cases. These include 140 industrial accidents and 70 paediatric trauma incidents – making it one of the largest trauma centres in Singapore for such emergencies, and the only tertiary hospital looking after both adults and children.

The launch of the National University Centre for Trauma, officiated by Professor Kenneth Mak, Director-General of Health, Ministry of Health, signifies NUH’s commitment to providing a full spectrum of trauma care capabilities for both adults and children. In conjunction with the launch, NUH also organised a symposium fielded by local and international trauma experts, to share best practices on trauma care. 

“The National University Centre for Trauma represents decades of efforts in refining our trauma care expertise, for our injured patients to return to their lives and achieve their dreams. It also aims to prevent trauma from occurring in the first place with data-driven injury prevention efforts,” says Adjunct Assistant Professor Dr Raj Menon, who is the Centre Director of the National University Centre for Trauma.  He is also Senior Consultant in the Division of General Surgery (Trauma Surgery Service), Department of Surgery at NUH.

Addressing vulnerable populations

Understanding the critical importance of addressing vulnerable populations, the Centre has prioritised outreach and education efforts among three key groups: children, older adults, and migrant workers. 

These groups are particularly susceptible to trauma incidents due to their unique vulnerabilities – children are prone to accidents due to their active nature, older adults are at higher risks of falls and other accidents due to age-related factors, and migrant workers due to the physical demands of their jobs. According to data presented in the Workplace Safety and Health Report 2023, risky sectors such as construction, manufacturing and transportation & storage contributed to 60 per cent of fatal and major injuries last year. In addition, about one-third of people aged 65 and above in Singapore have suffered a fall at least once.

To this end, the National University Centre for Trauma recently held an injury prevention workshop on 30 June, in collaboration with local non-profit organisation, ItsRainingRaincoats. The workshop, which was well received by the migrant workers in attendance, delved into pertinent topics such as spinal care management, haemorrhage control and first aid techniques for severe injuries. 

The National University Centre for Trauma is also actively collaborating with community partners and schools to improve public awareness on injury prevention. The centre has been running workshops with pre-schools and active aging centres, including the Queenstown Mei Ling Zone Resident’s Network, to impart safety awareness among children and older adults.

In the upcoming months, more outreach workshops will be extended to primary schools and community centres, as part of the National University Centre for Trauma’s upstream efforts to prevent accidents and improve safety awareness.

Expediting care and improving recovery

In cases of trauma, a few minutes can mean the difference between life and death. The National University Centre for Trauma has introduced Code Trauma, a hyperacute response code that has reduced the duration required to transfer a patient from the emergency department to the operating theatre by half. 

The implementation of Code Trauma mobilises essential parties, such as emergency physicians and nurses, trauma surgeons, anesthesiologists, and intensive care physicians, to accelerate decision-making and enhance the speed of response to manage bleeding in patients with polytrauma or multiple injuries.

Additionally, NUH has rolled out a multi-disciplinary trauma clinic, which provides a one-stop centre for recovering trauma patients, as well as weekly patient-centred meetings to enhance trauma care, rehabilitation, and psychosocial recovery pathways.

The integrated trauma clinic provides greater convenience and comfort for patients with multiple injuries, by offering combined consultations and therapy, thereby reducing the need for multiple sessions with different healthcare professionals.

Life after trauma

The psychological effects of trauma can linger long after the physical wounds have healed. For trauma survivors, these invisible scars can impact all aspects of their lives, including relationships and work. 

To support these patients on their recovery journey, the National University Centre for Trauma kickstarted Singapore’s first trauma survivor support group in 2023. The group, which started with 10 members, provides support, resources and a sense of community for trauma survivors, with plans to reach out to more individuals in need. 

One of these trauma survivors is Mr Marius Madsen, 18, who suffered multiple injuries, including fractures and contusions, from an accident in 2020. A promising athlete striving to represent Singapore in the Para Games, Marius has shown what it means to continue pursuing his dreams following trauma, with the encouragement of the trauma survivor support group.

To download the PDF version of the press release, click here.

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National University Health System
National University Hospital
National University Health System
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