Saturday, March 22, 2014

Raymond A Fernando's Letter to MediaCorp’s TODAY newspaper: Family upset by care of mum at residential home

My letter on the above matter was published in TODAY newspaper on Saturday 22nd March 2014.

The Health Minister mentioned that his ministry will ramp up programmes to facilitate a patient’s discharge from acute hospitals as it raises the quality of step-down care in community hospitals and nursing homes. (“Medisave use, drug subsidies to be enhanced”; March 13)

My concern is that some elderly patients may end up in residential homes that are lacking.

For example, my mother, 89, needs assistance with daily living and must now spend her twilight years in St John’s Home in Wan Tho Avenue, as my sister can no longer cope after four decades of caregiving responsibilities.

Although I had asked the Agency for Integrated Care to place my mother in a nursing home, this request could not be met, as she was assessed by a public acute hospital to be totally ambulant, when she is not.

The environment at the home is not conducive. Observing that my mother’s dormitory toilet was dirty, my sister offered to clean the place, but the management rejected this.

My sister was then barred from entering the dormitory to check on my mother’s nappy stock and provide her the emotional and physical support she needs.

Although many of the residents have few or no teeth, the meals such as meat are hard. My siblings and I have been taking food to our mother.

Last week, she had a fall. Worried that she could have a stroke from the next fall or end up back in hospital, I requested a wheelchair, as she was struggling to walk.

But this was turned down; the manager insists that my mother must be independent, when she is not. Rigid rules are enforced, and we are at the mercy of the management.

It is not right to treat a pioneer in this manner, distressing her family members in the process.

Raymond Anthony Fernando




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