Nursing homes (NHs) in Singapore provide essential care services for the elderly who for many reasons, are unable to age at home. And yet, NHs are perceived as a human dumping ground and a career killer for nurses. The perception of career killer may not be far from the truth because the sector had been under-invested in terms of remuneration and career progression and the care work is physical, routine, and repetitive. It also does not help when the physical environment of most NHs are structured as a no-frill factory-style that allows provision of care to be streamlined, what one writer observed it as “safe but soulless” (Basu, 2016). NHs also suffer from chronic staff shortage due to high turnover and burnout.
One NH in Singapore is trying to change these negative perceptions through education, research, and providing care using the Green House Model approach. Its Nursing Director is the force behind the push to create a formal Academy where research and education could be conducted to provide care that is evidence-informed and staff feel empowered. Research and education are not synonymous with NHs because of the nature of the care work and negative perceptions.
This presentation will discuss how applied research and competency-based education programmes are two key areas in bringing about essential change in a sector that has been dogged with negative images. Using the data of a recent learning needs assessment research, a number of educational modules are being developed for an in-house competency-based training programmes to empower the staff and build their capacity. Visionary leadership and having the moral courage to effect change is the third factor.
Keywords: Nursing Homes; applied research; competency-based education; capacity building.
Basu, R. (2016). Safe but soulless; Nursing homes need a new narrative. Lien Foundation and Khoo Chwee Neo Foundation. http://www.lienfoundation.org/sites/default/files/SafebutSoulless_0.pdf
Cohen, L. W., Zimmerman, S., Reed, D., Brown, P., Bowers, B. J., Nolet, K., Hudak, S., & Horn, S. (2016). The Green House Model of nursing home care in design and implementation. Health Services Research, 51(Supplement 1), 352-377. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5338211/pdf/HESR-51-352.pdf