Pilot scheme with home-based services for the disabled

Physiotherapist Gopu Ellappan helping Mr Hasan, who has spastic cerebral palsy, with limb exercises. Mr Ellappan visits the family thrice a week as part of the home-based care services pilot scheme.
Physiotherapist Gopu Ellappan helping Mr Hasan, who has spastic cerebral palsy, with limb exercises. Mr Ellappan visits the family thrice a week as part of the home-based care services pilot scheme.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Pilot scheme helps those unable to go to centres, eases load on caregivers

Mr Mohamed Hasan Mohamed Rilvan, 32, has spastic cerebral palsy and cannot walk, clean or feed himself. His parents cared for him until sickness made it difficult for them to lift him in 2012. His weekly baths became monthly ones. He also did not get enough water to drink as his parents did not want him urinating in his diaper.

But things got better for Mr Hasan after his family signed up in September for a pilot scheme that offers home-based care services for persons with disabilities.

Workers from the Asian Women's Welfare Association (AWWA) go to their home thrice a week, six hours in all. They conduct physiotherapy thrice a week and shower him once or twice a week.

"His hand movements are improving and he can prop himself up a bit," said his sister Siti Aisha Mohamed Rilvan, 26, a part-time tutor.

It is persons with disabilities like Mr Hasan the Ministry of Social and Family Development wants to help with this two-year home-based care services pilot scheme mentioned in Parliament earlier this year. The scheme, which started in April, provides disabled persons above 16 with therapy, personal hygiene care, housekeeping and medication reminder services in their homes.

Giving an update of the pilot yesterday, the ministry said about half of the 60 places have been filled but that more places will be added if there is a need.

The scheme will benefit those who do not require or are unsuitable for centre-based services because their disabilities are too severe, or those who cannot travel to the care centres, it said.

This pilot plugs a gap in the current care landscape for the disabled, said AWWA and the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds), both service providers for the pilot.

The clients served by Minds are those unable to attend a Day Activity Centre and are living at home for financial reasons or because their family cannot take them out, said Ms Koh Chu Wen, an occupational therapist at Minds. "There is this group of people not receiving any services at all," she added.

Mr Hasan's family, for instance, have been trying to get him residential care since 2012 but could not get a place.

They pay a subsidised rate of $10 a month for the home-care service. Each visit of about 11/2 hours costs about $50, depending on the service. The service has eased their load and taught them to better care for Mr Hasan.

"This six hours a week help a lot," said Ms Aisha.

kxinghui@sph.com.sg