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Probe into hygiene levels at nursing home

THE FOOD: A picture of the food which is claimed to have been served to a resident at the Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged and Sick. PHOTOS: THE REAL SINGAPORE
Probe into hygiene levels at nursing home

THE 'CONTAMINANT': A close-up of the food item with the insect in the anonymous post on The Real Singapore website.
Probe into hygiene levels at nursing home

THE CROCKERY: A photo of a cup posted on the website in support of the post.


    Mar 27, 2014

    Probe into hygiene levels at nursing home

    A WELL-KNOWN nursing home, the Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged and Sick, is being investigated by the Health Ministry after someone purporting to be a staff member complained about hygiene lapses there.

    The person had written a post online on Sunday, expressing his shock at the standards of hygiene at the Yishun home.

    He claimed that food was served with "dead insects inside it" and that "the plates and cups have like (sic) algae and black stains growing on them as well".

    He also uploaded several photos, presumably taken in the home, of insects in food, dirty medicine cups and worn-out utensils.

    In the anonymous post, the person also said: "My main purpose in sharing these photos is not to get the mission home into trouble but it is because I have already (given) feedback many times to them and yet they did not do anything about it."

    The post has since been liked 438 times on the website and shared 110 times on Facebook.

    When contacted by MyPaper, Sree Narayana Mission, the charity that oversees the 35-year-old Home, said that the allegations were "unfounded" - a conclusion based on investigations conducted by the Home's management.

    The photographs, said the Home in a statement, were posted by a former employee.

    "The employee had taken the photographs and uploaded them as a way of venting his unhappiness about his impending termination by the Home because of his poor performance," said the statement.

    "As such, the origins of the insect found on the dish and captured as a photograph are unclear, and could have been a deliberate act."

    The Home also said that the photographs of the unwashed crockery and cutlery were taken at staging points for washing and for disposal of waste, where they would naturally be dirty.

    Since then, the welfare of the Home's residents has been checked and "no complaints about discomfort" emerged, according to the statement.

    The Home also added that processes - including monthly, and surprise audits - are in place for food handling, food preparation and service, as well as general upkeep.

    Nursing homes are required to keep premises "maintained at all times in a clean and sanitary condition and in a good state of repair", according to regulations.

    When contacted, the Ministry of Health would only say that it is investigating the issue.

    Mr Seah Kian Peng, chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Social and Family Development, did not want to comment on the specific issue while an investigation was on, but said, in general, that "no matter whether it is a Home, temple, nursing home, office or even my own house, food safety is very important. This is more so in Sree Narayana because there are big groups living inside."