Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

June 10, 2011

SINGAPORE: Proper checks important in taking care of elderly, say some nursing homes

SINGAPORE / Channel News Asia / Singapore News / June 10, 2011

Some nursing homes say proper supervision is important in taking care of elderly residents.

This follows the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) move to suspend the Nightingale Nursing Home along Braddell Road from admitting new patients, after staff there were found to have mistreated a resident.

Residents at a nursing home

The incident came to light after Channel NewsAsia alerted the MOH to a video, taken by a hidden camera on a patient’s bedside.

The video showed an elderly woman patient sitting next to a bed without any clothes while the ceiling fans in the room were switched on.

After a while, two staff members were shown lifting the patient and throwing her onto a bed.

In one footage, a staff member was shown slapping the patient after she moaned in pain.

The homes Channel NewsAsia spoke to said that they have measures in place to prevent such incidents from happening.

At the Windsor Convalescent Home, the management reminds its staff about their responsibility to the elderly.

Maggie Ng, manager of Windsor Convalescent Home, said: "We told them, ’this is not the way to treat an old patient’. You just imagine: your own parents, if they are being treated this way....You want yourself to be (treated) in this way in future? There will be a retribution."

The home has put in place several measures to help staff nurses perform their job.

The centre manager is on standby 24 hours should any such incident occur. New nurses are also put through a mentorship programme.

The nursing home has 50 patients aged between 50 and 90 years. It has 14 staff nurses, all of them foreign workers coming from the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

The job there is stressful, so it’s important that staff nurses’ well—being is taken care of.

Ms Maggie Ng said: "Usually, we will check with them (to see)whether they are ok. (We tell them that if they have) any problems, just come and see us. Don’t let go of your frustrations on patients."

Louanne Rhomei, a nurse at Windsor Convalescent Home, said: "Even if we are very stressful at work, we just manage our anger. We are not angry with them (residents). We just tell them (nicely) even if they (say) bad words."

At the ECON nursing homes, regular checks are in place to ensure the well—being of patients. These include daily checks by the centre manager and staff nurses. Measures are also in place so that residents can provide constructive criticisms and feedback.

— CNA/ir