Jamiyah Nursing Home: Caring For Our Elderly Differently

Jamiyah Nursing Home (Darul Syifaa)’s orange building occupies a plot of land next to the Ayer Rajah Hawker Centre.

I’ve travelled past it countless times but have never stepped inside, until one recent day when the nursing home welcomed visitors attending the Conference on the Move II by the Shirin Fozdar Programme.

Visitors from the Conference on the Move II taking a tour of Jamiyah Nursing Home’s premises. There is a reconstructed bus stop in the home that helps remind residents of the past, using nostalgia to keep their minds active and happy with the memories they had when they were younger.

It was at this amazing conference where I learnt about the power of community, conversations, and the social model practised by Jamiyah Nursing Home where the home focuses on person-centred care.

The nursing home currently looks after residents through the Individual Care Plan, with services that include the Senior Care Centre, Dementia Ward, Integrated-Home Day Care and the Community Befrienders’ Programme.

Jamiyah Nursing Home was officially opened by the then Deputy Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday, 4th May 2002. (Photo: Jamiyah Nursing Home)

This is an email interview with Mr Satyaprakash Tiwari, Director of Jamiyah Nursing Home (Darul Syifaa), on the unique story of this nursing home and the important role the home and its community partners play in our ageing society.

1. What are the unique characteristics of how Jamiyah Nursing Home is run according to the social model?

As part of our journey to enhance the Quality of Life of our residents, we, at Jamiyah Nursing Home, addressed the most contentious issues first.

Food was one such concern. Residents disliked the traditional, bland food served at other such eldercare institutions. Often they would ask family members to buy food from the hawker centre during their visits so that they could relish meals like in the past.

This formed the basis of our change to a social model – we decided to ensure the food had enough variety as the hawker centre and matched it for taste. Thus we now have a four-week menu that is served on a rotational basis. The menu is updated on an ongoing basis by the caterer based on feedback the residents give.

We believe in connecting with the seniors as those seeking care may be suffering, some in small ways, others in significant ways. Our role is to relieve suffering, whether that is from a frustrated resident who has been sent to a Nursing Home. The diversity of our population is an opportunity and a challenge and we embrace as both.

The walls of Jamiyah Nursing Home has colourful wall murals of blue skies and nature, evoking feelings of calm and home.

2. How has Jamiyah Nursing Home grown and evolved since it started in 2002?

Caring for seniors in the community has evolved over the years.

At Jamiyah Nursing Home, we believe that the residents should endorse the Quality of Life that they are provided through our services. We have a Residents’ committee that has joined hands with the management in making the Nursing Home a true home for the seniors.

The members of the Residents’ Committee provide feedback to the staff on all matters related to operations and resident care. The staff and management committee is open to suggestions and agrees to them wherever feasible. Our programmes and care plan prioritises value from the senior’s perspectives.

As a facility, we continue to adapt our current processes to align with person-centred care principles.

Ensuring Residents and their loved ones are equal partners in care decisions and have the opportunity to provide input into the facility’s processes is an essential practice in achieving our Mission and Vision as an organisation.

Residents have the opportunity to discuss their experience at Jamiyah Nursing Home at Residents’ Committee meeting every month. Residents’ Committee provides an opportunity for Residents to discuss issues and provide regular input into the facility.

Adapting and changing processes and approaches in an organisation takes time. However, the facility continues to research best practices and develop and adopt processes that ensure the Resident and Family voice is an equal partner on the care team.

As an organisation, we continue to seek ways of serving residents well. We are committed to Person-Centred Care.

3. How does Jamiyah Nursing Home recruit and retain talent in the eldercare sector?

I agree that it is a challenge to find people passionate about working in the eldercare sector. The task is even more challenging in the lower ranks where there is a considerable level of physical activity in terms of transferring residents, showering, changing diapers, etc.

However, at Jamiyah Nursing Home, we are early adaptors of technology and have piloted and brought various online enhancements that considerably reduced load and stress of the work.

These include the purchase of different equipment to assist with transferring, showering, medication dispensation. Even resident care processes are reviewed regularly.

Our strategic thrust is
• To Create a Stable and Sustainable Workforce
• To Develop a Competent and Energised Workforce

Over the past year, the organisation has focused on recruitment and retention of staff.

Recruitment has been successful in regards to filling permanent positions as well as attracting people to various casual positions in all Departments. We are looking at Casual positions which are an essential human resource for a 24/7 facility as these positions allow permanent staff members to take time off as required.

Also, the organisation has been encouraging staff to participate in organisational changes wherever possible to influence the processes in their Departments. Group and individual feedback from staff have been influential in addressing workplace issues such as workplace wellness and safety to name two critical areas of focus.

Investment in the skills and qualifications of staff has been realised through several education events.

The introduction of the person-centred care education has been essential in building support and capacity of all staff members to better understand and work with people living with dementia.

In a candid sharing, Mr Satyaprakash Tiwari explains the unified schedule for bed-turning. For example, between 1 and 3 o’clock, residents should be lying on their right side. Having a unified schedule enables staff to quickly spot and turn residents who have not yet been turned, preventing bed sores.

Regular meetings with staff members, both individually and in groups, to provide feedback has also been an important exercise for the organisation. Addressing issues, improving processes, and role clarity have been a focus over the past year.

We recognise that this work must continue and that leveraging the expertise and insight of staff members is essential for us to achieve the goals outlined in the strategic plan.

4. What are some workplace practices at Jamiyah Nursing Home that you are proud of?

Many of the changes made to processes are based on suggestions from the staff.

At Jamiyah Nursing Home, we have small teams of staff called Champions, that are studying various aspects of resident care and then proposing changes to operational processes to make everyone’s work lighter.

These suggestions could be in changes to procedures / processes, purchase of additional / new equipment, training, and upgrading with new skills. When the staff see their suggestions being accepted by the management and put into action, there is a sense of achievement and the Champions take pride in their work.

We are proud of our quality care and innovation.

Mr Satyaprakash Tiwari explaining to visitors how the home puts up useful posters and charts around the home (e.g. in the wards) so staff can conveniently refer to the information in the course of their work.

5. How does Jamiyah Nursing Home work with community partners to enhance the quality of residents’ lives?

Jamiyah Nursing Home has worked very closely with the various Community Care partners in the West Coast neighbourhood and beyond.

These include Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), Silver Generation Office (SGO), Social Service Offices(SSOs), other Social Service Agencies (SSAs), South West CDC, West Coast GRC, various grassroots organisations, Neighbourhood Police Post, mosques and other religious organisations, etc.

Regular interaction with them, as well as mutual participation in events, has created a strong bond. This ensures that we can respond to any call for assistance from any of our partners and they will assist likewise. Joint celebrations of festive occasions allow our residents to feel they continue to be part of the community and gives members of these organisations to get to know our seniors better.

jamiyah foodbank
Groups of volunteers from all walks of life support the residents at Jamiyah Nursing Home. Even members of the public can support by listening to the residents. There is a Jamiyah Foodbank collection point near the lobby where visitors can donate food items to help the community in need.

Since the residents are mobility challenged, they look forward to outings and entertainment programmes at the Home. The Home is continuously looking for sponsors and volunteers for such outings as well as regular performances at the Home.

This has Increased the Vibrancy of Home Through Staff Engagement & Community Partnerships. We are incredibly grateful for the many committed volunteers and community partners who have repeatedly offered their time and positive energy.

The Jamiyah Nursing Home has significantly benefited from the efforts of organisations such as clubs, devoted singers, musicians, and spiritual care volunteers, to name a few. Staff have also hosted events such as one-on-one visits with individual residents, group events within the Home, and collaborations with Residents on the planning and hosting of events throughout the year such as festive seasons.

Special thanks to Mr Satyaprakash Tiwari and Jamiyah Nursing Home for the information. The home is continuously looking for sponsors and volunteers to engage their residents.

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