Raising standards of nursing homes

We thank Mr Ho Kok Fei for his letters (Nursing home policies just a paper exercise?, Sept 1; and Take steps to ensure elderly are well-nourished, Sept 5).

The Ministry of Health (MOH) works closely with stakeholders in developing nursing home policies, and partners the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) which supports the nursing homes in implementing them. The Enhanced Nursing Home Standards which articulates the level and quality of care, is one example of this.

The MOH has been working with the AIC to help nursing homes achieve these standards through initiatives such as baseline assessments, training and sharing of best practices.

We are heartened by the nursing homes' efforts to improve their quality of care for their residents.

Some have introduced greenery to create a comfortable environment to boost the well-being of residents, even those who are frail.

There are now more designated communal areas for seniors to interact in groups, as well as designated spaces or rooms (such as "quiet rooms") for those who prefer to spend time by themselves.

In some nursing homes, the quiet areas are designed to create a familiar and soothing environment for residents with dementia.

Since 2012, the AIC has organised an annual nutrition movement in collaboration with chefs from the Singapore Chefs' Association to promote good nutrition.

The movement has evolved from basic training to involve nutrition education by dietitians, preparing hawker-style cooking and therapeutic diet, and tips on making food appear appetising for clients.

Over 110 community care organisations, including nursing homes, have taken part in this movement.

About 600 staff members have also undergone training to improve their knowledge on nutrition and their cooking techniques.

The MOH and the AIC will continue to work with nursing homes to improve the way care is delivered.

Andy Seet

Director, Corporate and Marketing Communications

Agency for Integrated Care

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2017, with the headline 'Raising standards of nursing homes'. Print Edition | Subscribe