Recently, Channel NewsAsia ran a programme that provided insights into the nursing home in Singapore. They sent one of their reporters to live in the nursing home for 2 weeks, and found that living in a nursing home in Singapore is indeed a depressing situation.
While we are not here to discuss the model of nursing homes in Singapore, we need to prepare ourselves for what's to come, as well as get acquainted with the situation since Singapore has a rapidly ageing population. If you need to choose a nursing home for your parents, here are a few crucial factors to consider before you make that choice.
Type of care
Depending on the needs of the elderly, they would need varying degrees of care on a daily basis. This is usually split into 3 types – inpatient care, care services at home and day care. Nursing homes are generally for patients who are unable to take care of themselves or cannot be cared for in their own homes. So for instance, if they are wheelchair-bound, bed-ridden or does not have the mental capacity to perform self-care activities such as feeding themselves, then a nursing home is an appropriate care type.
If there's someone at home to take care of the elderly most days, a nursing home may not be needed. Should you need temporary help, you can look for respite care, which is a temporary nursing care service.
If the patient requires a higher level of care that requires professional medical help, much more than simply assisting with daily activities, basic nursing home care may not be adequate. For this, there is a need to look for inpatient hospice care, which is for patients suffering from advanced and progressive diseases who require a higher-skilled level of medical and nursing care environment to relieve end-of-life pain.
This should be one of the first criteria you look at when choosing a nursing home for your parents so that they can get the required amount of care on a daily basis.
Nursing care is definitely not cheap, given that it is a full stay-in and requires a high number of staff to ensure that the patients get the care they need. According to a report on nursing home care in Singapore, the average cost per day per patient is at $106, which comes up to about $3,180 per month.
Of course, nursing homes not only differ by cost because of the type of care they provide, there are other differentiating factors as well. For instance, a public nursing home will enable you to enjoy some subsidies from the government if your monthly household per capita income falls under $2,600. So if cost is a concern, you might want to stick to public nursing homes. Otherwise, there aren't that many more ways of saving on this cost other than using some rewards credit cards to earn cashback on your nursing home expenses.
While you may be relieved from the daily care duties rendered to your parents to a nursing home, nothing can show your love more by visiting your parents often at the nursing home and spending time with them. After all, they are your family and anyone living in a nursing home don't really want to spend the ends of their lives with strangers they've just met!
This is why it is important to choose a nursing home that is nearby your home or work place so that you can drop by for a visit as often as possible.
In recent years, there are more and more Singaporeans who opt to send their parents to nursing homes in Johor Bahru because they are cheaper than the ones in Singapore, but the fact is it is a foreign country and if an emergency happens, it will still take at least 2 hours to reach there. If you do not want to put yourself in such situations, it is better to stick to one locally.
While Singapore's model of nursing care is more focused on the medical aspects rather than a habilitative model, there is still a small nuance of difference between different nursing homes.
For instance, ECON Nursing Home includes recreational activities and exercise programs such as mahjong and karaoke sessions for the elderly so as to encourage interaction and friendship amongst their residents. While they may be slightly more expensive compared to other nursing homes, it also comes down to the kind of environment you want your parents to be in. Do you want them to be confined to their beds, live on a regular schedule without being able to move freely for a walk?
Other differences between nursing homes include their religions orientations, as well as medical philosophy. These should also be considered to ensure that your parents are housed in an environment where they feel at home and have an affinity with.
Consider these factors carefully, as each of them can affect the quality of life and nursing care rendered to your parents. We have also found the best nursing homes in Singapore by each category so you can find the best option for your situation.
Written by Lynette Tan