Having stroke, falls or Parkinson can lower down the activity and self-care ability of the elderly. Research show that the older ones who accept home care after coming out of the hospital have better health condition and are less likely to return to the hospital or emergency room. Some non-governmental organizations urge the government to distribute 72 million Hong Kong dollars to promote the home care service to all areas in HK.
The Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Charity Foundation has been funding the promotion of home rehabilitation services for the elderly since 2000, sending out physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and rehabilitation assistants to visit the elders and providing rehabilitation training, modifying their home environment as well as teaching caregivers the knowledge of rehabilitation. The Foundation commissioned the CUHK Nethersole School of Nursing to evaluate the effectiveness of the service, among the 122 study cases, half of them have used the service, and those who have used the service have increased their activity capacity by 24.2% within 3 months; The daily self-care ability too, has increased by 16%, the elderly can change clothes, walk stairs and go to the toilet by themselves; the ability to arrange independent daily living has also increased by 19.3%, the elderly can go to the market to buy food and do housework, etc; the cognitive ability has also increased by 4.6%. At the same time, there’s great improvement for the number of times the elderly go back to the hospital or emergency room, even though they do go back again, the days of hospitalize have reduced by nearly 14 days.
75 years old Mrs. Liao went to hospital last March because of the fall, and she has been enjoying the service for 11 months since she discharged from hospital. The team installed handrails in her home to assist Mrs. Liao getting out of bed and using the toilet, they also arranged sports and walking training which have strengthen her understanding of time, place and people and slowed down her brain degradation. As a result, her score for cognitive aptitude tests has increased from 12 to 17 since the beginning of the service, and she made progress in the short-term memory and concentration. Mr. Liao pointed out that his wife shown signs of brain degradation before her admission, and she has changed from an active person to the one that not willing to talk to people and doing housework, often times, she forgot what was told a while ago. After receiving the service, she can now take the bus from Taipo to Tseung Kwan O to visit friends, and she can wash her own clothes, hang them and sweep the floor, which greatly reduces his care pressure.
The service has been used by 8,500 patients so far, 90% of them are seniors, the average cases handled are 600 per year, with an average cost of HK $ 800 per visit, while the elderly use the service for an average of half a year, with about 10 visits during the period. The chairman of the Nethersole Outreaching Rehabilitation Mission Steering Committee, Liang Mingjuan, says that the foundation funds about 4 million Hong Kong dollars each year to promote the service, but due to the limited resource, this service is only available for people living in Taipo area, she urges other charity groups and government to imitate and promote the service to all the areas in HK which is expected to cost about 72 million Hong Kong dollars each year.