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    Aug 26, 2014

    NHELP for nursing homes to curb lapses

    A NEW IT system for nursing homes will go live next year, aiming to improve resident care in 36 homes over the next three years.

    Once a resident's vital information is keyed into the new Nursing Home IT Enablement Programme (NHELP), alerts can be scheduled to remind staff when the resident's next health assessment must be carried out.

    It aims to curb lapses in care and reduce the likelihood of hospital re-admissions.

    NHELP, which was launched yesterday at the Singapore Christian Home, is linked to the National Electronic Health Records, a database of patients' medical details shared by public health providers nationwide.

    The Web-based programme can also be run on mobile devices.

    Joe Ong, chief executive of Bright Hill Evergreen Home, which will start using NHELP next March, said: "Currently, we are very primitive, we are still using hard-copy forms and files. So this system really comes just in time."

    The Ministry of Health (MOH) is offering NHELP free to nursing homes for three years. In the fourth and fifth years, they will start to foot 20 per cent of the cost.

    So far, nine homes have signed up but MOH hopes to get 36 on board in the following three years - half the total of nursing homes in Singapore.

    This would cost $6.5 million to implement.

    Lynda Soong, chief of community care development at the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), said: "We have teams who will be in nursing homes helping with the implementation, and as we get the feedback, we will see if there is any need to make adjustments to the system."

    Rolling out this IT system is one way for the AIC to prepare nursing homes for the Enhanced Nursing Home Standards, which will take effect next year.

    The standards, which state that elders should be "cared for safely and with dignity", come three years after caregivers at Nightingale Nursing Home were accused of mistreating an elderly resident.

    NHELP is a collaboration between the AIC, German information and communication technology firm T-Systems Singapore, and Leecare Solutions, which developed the software.