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Nursing Home Woes: Untrained Foreigners on Slave Wages are Caring for Your Elderly Loved Ones

They’re untrained, they’re paid only S$350 a month, and they’re given the important task of making sure your loved ones are well cared for.

That’s the plight of nursing home workers, according to a study by the Lien Foundation and Khoo Chwee Neo foundation.

Some of these workers even manage up to 30 staff on any given night.

The study showed that while staff only take home about S$350, foreign workers levies paid to the government for each worker can come up to S$450 a month.

That would put their earnings as care-givers below maids and construction workers and slavishly, hardly allow them to afford food and lodging.

In line with requirements the Health Ministry’s requirements, each nursing home must hire at least 12 workers to tend to elderly who are bed-bound or very ill.

That means about 4 workers per shift, taking into account that each home has 3 shifts.

For some nursing homes, this means a ratio of 1 worker to 32 residents.

The conditions at nursing homes have also been called into question, with a room being shared by 20 people and one toilet being shared by 15 people.

There are now 40,000 elderly living alone, and this number is expected to rise to 92,000 in 15 years times.

This means more people who will need long-term care out of their homes.

Despites the MOH’s initiative to provide homes with additional funds of up to 33 percent if they accept subsidised residents, some homes cannot make use of the funds because they cannot find enough Singaporeans to work in this field.

Said Lien Foundation CEO Mr Lee Poh Wah:

“I think what we see in the nursing home sector is tantamount to a market failure, where archaic models continue to dominate the field.”

Nursing home operators reported that Singaporeans don’t want to do these kinds of jobs because of the job scope, working hours and unattractive pay.

They say Singaporeans prefer to work normal office-hour jobs which give them the weekends off.

Nearly 60 percent of job position can remain vacant for 6 months or more.

As such, these operators have to turn to foreign labour.



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