SINGAPORE: Minister of State for Health, Dr Amy Khor said the Ministry of Health (MOH) will be making inspections for licence renewal of nursing homes more comprehensive.
This was in response to parliamentary questions about measures to prevent abuse in nursing homes.
Dr Khor said there were nine cases of alleged abuse reported since June last year.
These complaints of abuse mainly alleged rough handling of elderly patients, particularly when the patients were being moved by nursing home staff.
She added that her ministry will also be putting in place a Visitors Programme for nursing homes.
The new programme will see volunteers visiting the homes as an extra safeguard against possible abuse or other lapses.
Dr Khor said: "They will speak with the patients and their family members about the care provided by the home and to observe the general environment. Each team of visitors will comprise both healthcare professionals and lay persons. After the visit, the visitors will provide a report on their findings to the Ministry with a copy given to the nursing home.
"This programme, however, does not replace the formal inspections currently conducted by MOH which will continue. We plan to roll out the programme in April this year."
MOH currently licenses a total of 65 nursing homes, providing residential care for about 9,000 patients.
Those found to abuse patients whether out of negligence or rash acts will have their biennial licence suspended.