Secret video of mistreated woman sparks outrage
THE Health Ministry has ordered the Nightingale Nursing Home to stop accepting new patients after secretly-filmed video footage showed its staff mistreating a woman resident. The clip – recorded by a resident’s relative using a hidden camera – was broadcast by MediaCorp on its television news bulletins yesterday. It immediately went viral online, circulated on various forums, and drew angry comments from viewers outraged by what they saw.
The clip first shows the woman seated unclothed on a chair, in full view of everyone in the room. Two women staff members are then shown flinging her onto a bed. And when she groans, one of them slaps her. Last night’s TV news said the clip was handed over to MediaCorp in March this year and the government broadcaster then alerted the Ministry of Health. But neither the contents of the footage nor the ministry’s subsequent checks and action were revealed until yesterday. In a statement yesterday, the ministry said it had told the home to stop accepting new patients on April 12.
The woman’s mistreatment came to light after a relative – understood to be her son – placed a spy camera shaped like an alarm clock in the ward. The TV footage shown yesterday lasted 30 seconds. The woman is seen seated bare-bodied under a whirring ceiling fan, and she is said to have been in that state for 30 minutes. Later, two women staff members pick her up – one holding her by the armpits and the other by the feet. They then hoist her from the seat, and fling her onto the bed. When the woman lets out a groan, one of the women is seen hitting her on the mouth. According to a relative, the woman had been living at the Nightingale home in Braddell Road for four years.
A spokesman for the Nightingale Group, which runs three other nursing homes, said yesterday that this was an isolated incident and the staff responsible had been disciplined. He added: “Additional measures have been put in place such as getting management and senior staff to do more ward rounds and check on the delivery of patient care standards. “We are also conducting more interview sessions with patients and relatives, and actively seeking feedback from patients’ relatives.”
On the popular online forum Hardware- Zone, netizens were outraged by the mistreatment of the woman, with many calling for the staff involved to be fired. They criticised the home and its staff, and some were left wondering if other residents have also been subject to the same treatment. A ministry spokesman said the home will not be allowed to admit new patients until further notice. She added: “There were significant lapses in the care standards provided to the patient in question. “This should not have happened. There should have been tighter supervision of staff rendering care to vulnerable patients. Patients’ dignity and respect must be upheld at all times.”
‘Significant lapses’ at nursing home
The Ministry of Health has completed its investigations into a video recording suggesting that a patient might have been mistreated while residing in Nightingale Nursing Home (NNH). This is what it said: “There were significant lapses in the care standards provided to the patient in question. This should not have happened.
There should have been tighter supervision of staff rendering care to vulnerable patients. Patient’s dignity and respect must be upheld at all times. In line with our stand that service providers must not compromise the care given to residents, MOH has suspended Nightingale Nursing Home from admitting new patients until further
notice, from April 12, 2011.
On its part, NNH has disciplined the nursing staff involved and put in place additional measures such as ward rounds by senior staff, regular meetings with patients and their family members, and management checks on staff conduct and patients. This is to ensure better supervision on the delivery of care to patients, and to proactively detect and prevent cases of patients being mistreated.
MOH will closely monitor the nursing home to ensure that all the additional measures required of it are properly implemented and subsequently ascertain if the suspension imposed on the home should be reviewed or further sanctions imposed. Our inspectors regularly check that all nursing homes are properly maintained, keep their patient records in order and institute effective infection control measures. Nursing home operators are also required to maintain care standards on medication administration, fall prevention, housekeeping, etc.
Nursing homes that do not meet the required standards or which require closer monitoring for any other reason will be subject to more regular audits. MOH will also guide them on how to improve their performance.”