Staying in an A1 Ward – What’s it really like? [Firsthand experience]
Without going into much detail, I was scheduled for a minor surgery that expected me to be warded for 2 days.
And since I am fully covered by an Integrated Shield Plan, I decided to make my maiden hospital stay in an A1 ward – because I can. (A fully upgraded Integrated Shield Plan is one of the key components of Life Insurance we recommend to all our readers and users! You can see why now.)
So I packed my bag, shoved in my camera, and checked in (sorry, admitted) myself into Singapore General Hospital.
Post Operation – and the experience begins
The operation was conducted under General Anesthesia, and the last memory I had before waking up was breathing into a mask delivering pure oxygen. Damn if that was not the fastest KO I have ever experienced.
I heard people calling out my name and blinked my eyes open. Then began the 2-hour wait in the recovery ward while my room was being prepared. The nurse told me that A1 wards in SGH were limited, which was why I had ample time to make friends with her till I was finally wheeled in.
Was that fresh lavender I smelt? Who brought the diffuser?
The Room and Environment
No lavender. That’s me just dialing up the drama.
But the room was impressive, and suddenly the prospect of staying there for the next 48 – 72 hours didn’t seem so bad.
It was spacious and new. And I had it all to myself.
One tiny but important feature of the room was that I could turn off ALL the lights in it if I wanted. This meant for total darkness, which is exactly the environment I like to sleep in.
In a word, swanky.
Larger than the toilets of many, many hotels that I’ve stayed in before.
Minimalists will claim that all you need to heal is a bed and some good medical attention. But there were a number of amenities that made the stay in the ward a lot more pleasant and made it feel homely.
There was a reading desk in the room itself. Reminded me of a desk in a hotel, where you could do work if you wanted to. Not that I cared to do any work during this period.
I had a newspaper delivered daily to me. There’s the use for the reading desk, I suppose.
The TV was about 50 – 60 inches big. Never been a big fan of watching TV, but it was nice to catch up on some Channel News Asia on the big screen. And since I had the room all to myself, the sound came right out of the speaker. No messing around with earphones. Pretty cool.
Amongst the shelves and cupboards which served as ample storage space, I discovered a personal fridge. A fridge, for crying out loud. Now I knew where to store beer.
There was even a safe to store my gold bars. For practice, I placed my snickers in there. No one stole them.
It may be strange to say this, but I actually went hungry for a large part of my stay there. It wasn’t that they weren’t feeding me enough, but the food was just too… healthy. Anyway, the pictures speak for themselves.
I chose these items out of a daily menu which had various choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tastewise, it was acceptable but then I am not a foodie. But it was obvious that very little salt and oil was used in the preparation process.
As far as I could tell, the service was no different from that provided to other ward types. Doctors and nurses don’t treat the patients any differently, from my experience visiting relatives in other ward types.
They were courteous, patient, and friendly. So was I – which was smart given that I had two large holes in my body after the operation.
My blood pressure and temperature were taken every hour initially, and they checked on my dressings for excessive bleeding periodically.
As far as I could tell, the nurses treated me with every bit of respect and courtesy as they would the patients in other wards. This resonated well with me since it is morally correct. Kudos to the staff of Singapore General Hospital.
The main reason to stay in an A1 Ward
Having stayed in an A1 Ward and having seen the conditions of the other ward types (B1, B2 and C), here is my strongest reason for choosing A1 every time:
You have more privacy and quiet space.
Personally, this is the main reason. Perhaps even the ONLY reason. Even in B1, you share the ward with 3 other patients who may have their own visitors, this creates a big hustle and bustle well into the night if you are trying to sleep. (B2 wards have about 5 beds, and C wards have 6 beds)
Visitors will generally bring their handphones and a number of them talk none too softly. Being a light sleeper and generally someone who values peace and quiet, the A1 ward was a boon.
But if you are someone social, then you might find A1 to be dull because you don’t have other patients to talk to.
The rest of the amenities like a private shower, fridge, safe, newspapers, choice of food etc are just frills to me. They may matter to people who like these things, but to me, these are merely secondary compared to the privacy and comfort I receive.
This isn’t so much a post to advertise for A1 wards in general, but just to document my own first-hand experience in staying in one.
This highlights the main reason for me advocating upgrading your Integrated Shield Plan to the best it can offer. You pay more for sure, but when it comes right down to it, you will have the best ward available to you – even if you don’t take that option. Should you choose to stay in a lower level ward, you still get compensated with daily hospital cash.
In essence, you have options available to you when you need it most. Isn’t that what Life Insurance is all about?
My sincere thanks to the nurses, service staff, and doctors of ward 67 in SGH for making my stay a pleasant one.
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