Facebook-like database for more personal care in nursing homes

Facebook-like database for more personal care in nursing homes
TODAY file photo
Published: 4:00 AM, May 26, 2017
Updated: 4:58 AM, May 26, 2017

SINGAPORE — A notebook slotted in the back of his father’s wheelchair serves as a means of communication between Mr Ken Khor and the staff of the daycare centre the older man, a stroke patient, is attending.

Both sides will write notes in the book to update each other daily about the 57-year-old man’s bowel movements and other medical conditions.

Mr Khor, a 23-year-old student, also calls the centre to address “more pressing matters” and provide special reminders. However, his messages over the phone may sometimes be misunderstood by the staff, he added.

In an effort to make eldercare more seamless, as well as tailor it according to each senior’s needs and interests, Lien Foundation and 11 voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) yesterday announced a digital initiative that combines a database of clients’ records and a social media network.

IngoT PCC (person-centred care) — which will be rolled out in seven nursing homes, 14 daycare centres and four homecare services by the end of 2019 — will host Facebook-like profiles for some 6,000 elderly clients. Each profile has information such as the client’s birthday, life history, interests and meal preferences.

Staff in these VWOs will use the same platform to update each client’s medical records and daily activities, such as how much he eats, his exercise regime, mood and behaviour.

Modelled after a social network, it will include sections for other users to share photographs and comments so that family members will be able to access the portal to contribute information and see the activities their loved ones have been up to.

IngoT PCC can also be synced to other smart devices such as vital-sign monitors, bed sensors and location trackers.

Mr Tan Song Mong, who directs the senior care division at the PAP Community Foundation, hopes to “know and understand clients better” with the system’s help.

“Currently, care plans and individual needs are recorded manually. So we have to sieve through lots of papers just to find a piece of information. We can save a lot of time and effort with a system that can help us group clients according to their needs and preferences,” he said.

An earlier version of the system had helped to digitise about 140 forms and reports in seven nursing homes, leading to productivity gains of more than 10 per cent, said the Lien Foundation. It has invested S$3.3 million in the new platform.

At the Salvation Army Peacehaven, its adoption of this earlier system since 2007 has helped to ease its manpower crunch to some extent, said the nursing home’s executive director Low Mui Lang.

“In a nursing home, we are very lean ... We will not want to hire people just to talk ... and do delivery and data-reporting work ... All the time saved is dedicated back to the residents,” she said.

Beyond productivity and efficiency, the new platform wants to focus on the “intangibles”, said the foundation’s chief executive Lee Poh Wah, which will help providers care for their elderly clients as “persons” rather than “patients”.

“The elderly community (comprises) unique individuals, not just a collection of medical conditions ... We have drawn reference from the hospitality and travel industries to see how we can implement ‘mass personalisation’ for eldercare,” he added.

Apart from the PAP Community Foundation and Peacehaven, nine other VWOs have signed up for the platform. They include Apex Harmony Lodge, Touch Home Care & Senior Cluster Network, St Joseph’s Home, St Andrew’s Nursing Home and St Hilda’s Community Services.

In 2014, the Government announced a national IT system to allow nursing homes to share resident care details, manage their staff and finances, and build medical diagnosis reports.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, the Agency for Integrated Care said the Nursing Home IT Enablement Programme has been expanded to support home- and centre-based care partners. As of April, 20 homes have signed up, said the agency, which is under the Health Ministry.