Friday 13 July 2012

Seniors to get easier access to nurses

By David Ee, The Straits Times, 12 Jul 2012

SENIORS who require the aid of nurses at home will be able to call on them more easily, after a deal was signed yesterday between NTUC Eldercare and the Home Nursing Foundation.

Following a successful pilot last month, the foundation, one of Singapore's oldest and largest providers of at-home nursing services, will begin to station nurses at NTUC Eldercare centres.

Four nurses in all will be sent to centres in Dakota and Redhill, where many low-income seniors reside. In time, the two organisations hope to station nurses at most of NTUC Eldercare's 11 centres islandwide.

Announcing this deal at NTUC Eldercare's Dakota Silver Circle centre yesterday, Mr Lim Boon Heng, chairman of NTUC Eldercare, said that in order to deliver to seniors high quality care, the elderly should not be 'passed like a parcel from one part of the system to another'.

He said: 'Clients usually have multiple care needs... And they often do not know how to navigate the system.'

In the past, NTUC Eldercare - which provides services to care for the elderly, but not nurses - would refer seniors who needed home nursing care to the Agency for Integrated Care, which would then source for nurses. This was a process that sometimes took more than a week, said an NTUC Eldercare spokesman.

By stationing nurses on-site, the nurses and NTUC Eldercare's officers can coordinate more closely, potentially reducing waiting time and hassle for seniors.

For Aljunied resident Lim You Ping, 62, knowing that a nurse will soon be stationed close by means a world of difference.

The main caregiver for his wheelchair-bound wife who suffers from stroke and diabetes, Mr Lim recently had a cancer relapse that now requires him to get regular morphine injections.

The NTUC Eldercare care officer who helps tend to his wife thrice weekly cannot provide the nursing care that he needs.

But for Mr Lim and others like him, help is now on the way.

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