1st govt-run nursing home here opens
FROM sensors that alert staff if frail residents leave their beds or toilets unassisted to mechanical wheelchair storage solutions, the first Government-run nursing home here is trying to "push the boundaries" in the eldercare sector.
The three-storey, 130-bed Pearl's Hill Care Home - which used to be Pearl's Hill School - was officially opened in Chinatown yesterday by Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong.
It is operated by Vanguard Healthcare, which was set up by the Ministry of Health (MOH) last year to run its own nursing homes.
Two years ago, MOH announced that it would operate several nursing homes to better understand the issues faced by operators, and come up with solutions and innovations in eldercare which can be adopted by others.
The MOH said it intended to directly operate about 1,000 beds by 2020 - 6 per cent of the total here.
Latest statistics show that the proportion of Singaporeans aged 65 and above grew from 13.1 per cent last year to 13.7 per cent this year.
Currently, there are more than 12,000 nursing home beds and the target is to have 17,000 in four years' time.
The second nursing home to be run by Vanguard will open in Woodlands at the end of next year.
"Vanguard will develop new models of care that are cost-effective while striving to provide affordable quality care to patients," said Mr Gan.
"We will share our experiences and innovations with other providers in the eldercare sector to push the boundaries, so as to benefit the sector as a whole."
The home is working with Ngee Ann Polytechnic on new projects, such as having sensors in the toilet. These help to prevent falls by alerting caregivers when the patient attempts to stand up from the toilet seat unassisted.
It is also trying out a space-saving solution for wheelchair storage by mechanically lifting wheelchairs onto a two-tier rack.
Besides long-term stays, Pearl's Hill Care Home also provides short-term rehabilitation services for patients leaving hospital before they return home.
Since it started operating in January, its 50-plus staff have cared for 159 residents. So far, 18 of them have gone home.