Enhanced nursing home standards to better care for Singapore seniors

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced today that it intends to introduce an enhanced set of nursing home licensing standards by 2015, and is seeking public feedback on this proposal.

This is part of MOH's ongoing efforts to enhance care standards in the intermediate and long term care (ILTC) sector.

A committee comprising nursing home operators, healthcare professionals and policy experts was appointed by the Minister for Health in 2012 to review the existing licensing standards for nursing homes.

This is to ensure their continued effectiveness and relevance in providing quality care for Singapore seniors. The committee studied best practices among nursing home operators both in Singapore and overseas, and has drawn up a proposed set of enhanced standards.

The committee said that the enhanced standards outline more clearly the standard of care expected of all nursing homes. The new standards differ from the current licensing conditions in three main areas.

Firstly, areas that were not specified in the current set of licensing standards have been elaborated on. These include pain management, continence management, falls prevention and mobility, skin care and pressure ulcers, oral hygiene and advance care planning.

Second, the new standards also include social aspects of nursing home care, based on existing good practices today. These include ensuring that residents and their next-of-kin are informed about their care plan, requiring nursing homes to ensure that the dignity of the individual resident is respected, as well as attending to the psychosocial well-being of residents.

Lastly, the new standards include the topic of organisational excellence, including financial management, staff organisation and management, staff competence, training and supervision, customer relations, and continuous improvement. This stems from the committee's belief that good nursing home care must be underpinned by good organisation systems.

"Nursing home operators are generally supportive of the enhanced standards and have acknowledged the importance of raising care quality. We will continue to invest heavily to develop nursing homes' capabilities and support them in achieving the enhanced standards," said Minister of State for Health and Manpower Dr Amy Khor.

MOH launched a public consultation exercise today to gather feedback on the enhanced set of nursing home licensing standards.

All feedback should reach the Ministry by August 2. Feedback can be submitted to the email address moh_info@moh.gov.sg. Alternatively, members of the public may send their feedback to this mailing address:

"Feedback on Enhancing Nursing Home Standards"

Ministry of Health
College of Medicine Building
16 College Road
Singapore 169854

Fax: 6224 1677