Nursing homes step up measures against Covid-19
Visiting hours and number of visitors cut, some turn away those who had been to TTSH
Nursing homes have tightened their defences against Covid-19.
This follows the rise in the number of community cases, including a resident who tested positive after being discharged from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) where a cluster has been detected.
It was reported last Friday that the resident in question, a 77-year-old Singaporean woman, tested positive last Thursday, a day after being discharged to United Medicare Centre (Toa Payoh) Nursing Home.
Asked about the case, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), which has been supporting nursing homes during the pandemic, told The Straits Times on Tuesday that it has worked with the Ministry of Health to advise homes on protecting their staff and residents.
Measures implemented at homes in line with these advisories include limiting the duration of visits and the number of visitors, use of personal protective equipment, and safe distancing.
In addition to the AIC guidelines, some nursing homes are turning away visitors who had recently been to TTSH.
Peacehaven Nursing Home executive director Low Mui Lang said anyone who recently received a text message about monitoring their health because they had been to TTSH or other places visited by infected individuals are barred from entering the home.
Instead, they are encouraged to keep in touch with their loved ones via video calls.
Madam Low said Peacehaven's staff are working in split teams that are not allowed to co-mingle after working hours.
Dr Goh Siew Hor, head of clinical services at NTUC Health Co-Operative, said aside from turning away visitors, vendors or volunteers who had been to TTSH wards in the past 14 days, the group's three nursing homes are monitoring residents who had been to such wards during the same period for signs of acute respiratory infection.
"These residents were also segregated in ward rooms and underwent swab testing. Their appointments for visitors were temporarily deferred to prevent potential cross-infection," said Dr Goh.
Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home, which had a Covid-19 cluster last year with four deaths, has also put its guard up.
In addition to barring visitors who had recently been to TTSH wards, the home has banned both visitors and residents from eating during visits to ensure everyone keeps their mask on and maintains safe distancing.
"We have informed visitors to pass the food to our care staff and they will ensure the resident consumes the food safely at an appropriate time," said Mr Then Kim Yuan, the home's administrator.
AIC said that currently, homes which do not have any suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases have caps on the total number of visitors a day.
Each resident can pre-register up to four designated visitors, but no more than two can visit at any one time. Visitation times are limited to one hour.
FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES