Tue, Dec 30, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Care centers said to be inadequate

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Care centers for the elderly are designed for people who are isolated or cannot manage daily life independently, but 90 percent of these institutions are not up to the standards required by law, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Department said yesterday.

The department inspected 20 welfare organizations and nursing homes for the elderly in six cities and counties in October and last month — New Taipei City, Greater Taoyuan, Hsinchu City, Chiayi County, Greater Kaohsiung and Taitung County — of which only two met all the requirements regarding management, hygiene, public security and standard contracts.

“Among the 18 deficient centers, 14 violated management regulations by illegally accommodating elderly people who have been intubated and undergone tracheostomies, having no nursing personnel on duty during inspections, employing more foreign workers than is legally allowed and having malfunctioning emergency call systems in bathrooms and bedrooms,” senior consumer ombudsman Wang Te-ming (王德明) said at a news conference in Taipei yesterday morning.

Wang said only long-term care facilities are permitted to house patients with tracheostomies, while ordinary care centers are banned from accepting such patients and also those inserted with nasogastric tubes or urinary catheters.

Wang said the Ming Shen Elderly Nursing Center (名伸老人養護中心) in Hsinchu failed to meet any legal requirements.

“Some of the most absurd violations we found were that its elevator license had been expired for more than one year, that most of the medications it administers are long out of date — such as eye ointment that expired on May 2011 — and that it illicitly houses as many as five elderly people who have been intubated and undergone tracheostomies,” Wang said.

Other centers were deemed as not measuring up to standards because they use more areas of the building than they are legally entitled to, or stockpile items near stairways or emergency exits that might impede people’s ability to evacuate in the event of an emergency, Wang said.

The department advised people to visit a care center before signing a contract to ensure that the establishment is up to standard.

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