The Department of Rheumatology at Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) provides comprehensive and patient-centric care to patients with rheumatic and autoimmune disorders. We believe in a holistic approach to patient care and strive towards engaging patient participation to ensure that our patients achieve the best outcomes in disease control, preservation of function and quality of life overall. The department presently has 3 rheumatologists, who are supported by a Rheumatology Specialty Nurse who provides patient education in terms of diagnosis and management (lifestyle, drug therapy) of the patient’s chronic rheumatic condition.
Our team fosters a collegial environment and works closely with other departments in SKH such as orthopaedic surgery and other surgical specialties, radiology, nephrology, respiratory medicine, dermatology, gastroenterology, neurology, rehabilitation services, allied health and medical social services, in view of the multi-disciplinary nature of the illnesses that we treat. We also provide inpatient rheumatology consultation for all disciplines in SKH. We aspire to be a department where a passionate team delivers cost-effective and holistic care for our patients, with support from various Clinical Departments, Nursing and Allied Health Divisions.
We aim to improve care for patients with autoimmune and rheumatic disorders by synergizing Clinical Service, Education and Research. We have ongoing research relating to psoriatic arthritis, ankylosis spondylitis, systemic sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus. In addition, we pursue initiatives for quality improvement and health services research including shared care programme with our primary care network. We also believe in nurturing future generations of doctors, and actively contributes to both undergraduate and postgraduate education. In addition, we conduct educational talks for allied health staff and family physicians to improve the care of Rheumatology patients in the community.
The Department provides evidence-based clinical care through a comprehensive range of clinical services including the following:
Rheumatic diseases are autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that cause the immune system to attack a person’s joints, muscles, bones and organs.
There are more than 30 inflammatory rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, scleroderma, Sjogren syndrome and more.
While rheumatic disease affects each body in different ways, all can impact your health and sense of well-being. Patients with rheumatic diseases can also develop deformities that can make simple tasks, such as walking, brushing hair or getting dressed in the morning become difficult and sometimes impossible. Hence, it is important to seek medical attention and get appropriate treatment early.
When should I see a rheumatologist?
If you are experiencing symptoms of rheumatic disease, you should talk to your GP about them early and ask whether you should see a rheumatologist.
Some common symptoms of rheumatic disease include:
The first weeks and months following the onset of rheumatic disease symptoms are known as the “window of opportunity,” and it’s crucial that patients get appropriate treatment in that time period to avoid long-term complications, such as damage to joints and other organs, improve long-term function, and increase the likelihood of achieving disease remission.
Rheumatologists are doctors specially trained to diagnose, manage and treat rheumatic and autoimmune diseases. They work with a team of healthcare providers trained in many areas to determine the most appropriate treatment for your individual needs. Your rheumatologist will ask you about your symptoms and conduct a thorough physical examination. He/She might order blood tests, X-rays or scans depending on your condition after discussing with you.
Various types of medications are available to treat the underlying autoimmune processes. In addition to long-established treatment, various new options are being identified. Your doctor will discuss with you about the options and address any questions you may have regarding the medications. Depending on your condition, physical and occupational therapy may be recommended as part of the management plan.
Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic condition may cause you to feel worried. With the wide options of treatment available today, your doctor can intervene early to halt progression of disease and restore good quality of life. Your diagnosis is the first step in your road to recovery and you can be in control of your condition by following the treatment plan, communicating openly with your rheumatologist, and leading a healthy lifestyle.
A common misconception about rheumatic diseases is that they are just the “aches and pains” that accompany getting older. On the contrary, many rheumatic diseases often strike people in the prime of their lives and can be crippling, life-changing and life-threatening. Rheumatic diseases can also strike children and they great affect a child’s health and well-being as they do to an adult’s.
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