New Trauma Center at National University Hospital Expands Outreach for Vulnerable Groups

Monday, July 08, 2024

The National University Hospital (NUH) has introduced the National University Centre for Trauma, a milestone in comprehensive trauma care, outreach, and prevention.

NUH manages about 1,300 severe and critical trauma cases each year, including 140 industrial accidents and 70 pediatric trauma incidents, making it one of Singapore's largest trauma centers serving both adults and children.

Director-General of Health at the Ministry of Health, the Centre’s launch signifies NUH’s commitment to offering extensive trauma care for all age groups. The event also included a symposium where local and international trauma experts shared best practices.

“The National University Centre for Trauma represents decades of efforts in refining our trauma care expertise, allowing our injured patients to return to their lives and achieve their dreams.

It also aims to prevent trauma with data-driven injury prevention efforts,” said Adjunct Assistant Professor Dr. Raj Menon, the Centre Director and Senior Consultant in the Division of General Surgery (Trauma Surgery Service) at NUH.

Focus on Vulnerable Populations

The Centre has prioritized outreach and education for three key vulnerable groups: children, older adults, and migrant workers. These groups face unique risks—children due to their active nature, older adults due to age-related factors, and migrant workers due to the physical demands of their jobs. The Workplace Safety and Health Report 2023 highlighted that construction, manufacturing, and transportation & storage sectors accounted for 60% of fatal and major injuries last year. Additionally, about one-third of Singaporeans aged 65 and above have experienced at least one fall.

To address these issues, the Centre recently held an injury prevention workshop on 30 June, in collaboration with the non-profit ItsRainingRaincoats. The workshop, attended by migrant workers, covered essential topics such as spinal care management, hemorrhage control, and first aid for severe injuries.

The Centre is also working with community partners and schools to raise public awareness about injury prevention. Workshops have been conducted with preschools and active aging centers, such as the Queenstown Mei Ling Zone Resident’s Network, to promote safety among children and older adults.

More outreach workshops are planned for primary schools and community centers in the coming months, as part of the Centre’s efforts to prevent accidents and improve safety awareness.

Enhancing Trauma Care and Recovery

In trauma cases, every minute is crucial. The National University Centre for Trauma has introduced Code Trauma, a rapid response protocol that halves the time needed to transfer a patient from the emergency department to the operating theater. Code Trauma mobilizes key personnel, including emergency physicians, nurses, trauma surgeons, anesthesiologists, and intensive care physicians, to expedite decision-making and enhance response times for managing bleeding in patients with multiple injuries.

Additionally, NUH has launched a multi-disciplinary trauma clinic that provides a one-stop center for recovering trauma patients. This clinic offers combined consultations and therapy, reducing the need for multiple sessions with different healthcare professionals, and hosts weekly patient-centered meetings to improve trauma care, rehabilitation, and psychosocial recovery.

Supporting Life After Trauma

Trauma’s psychological effects can last long after physical wounds have healed, affecting all aspects of a survivor’s life. To support recovery, the National University Centre for Trauma established Singapore’s first trauma survivor support group in 2023. Starting with 10 members, the group offers support, resources, and a sense of community for trauma survivors, with plans to expand.

One member, Mr. Marius Madsen, 18, sustained multiple injuries, including fractures and contusions, from an accident in 2020. Aspiring to represent Singapore in the Para Games, Marius continues to pursue his dreams with the support of the trauma survivor group.