Dignity despite frailty

MWS expands holistic care for the frail with new service

Koon Liong simply could not cope after he suffered both a stroke and colon cancer. When our palliative nurse manager from Agape Methodist Hospice (Homecare) visited him, his flat was unkempt, and his cushions, bed covers and floor were stained from years of grime and dirt.

The 69-year-old former fisherman was paralysed on one side of his body from the stroke and suffered from incontinence, and could not take proper care of himself and his home.

To care for palliative patients who choose to spend the last stretch of their journey at home, AMH (Homecare) palliative staff make regular home visits, ensuring that they get relief from the symptoms and pain from their illnesses.

Such visits provide the patients and their families with emotional and spiritual support in difficult times, to improve their quality of life.

But for patients like Koon Liong, their needs go beyond medical and emotional. They need assistance with activities of daily living (ADL), such as laundry and showering.

Integrated care
To meet this need, Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) has expanded our homecare services, and launched a new service – MWS HomeJoy.

HomeJoy extends the continuum of care that MWS provides, providing a full suite of services to seniors above the age of 55, who are living alone or may be receiving inadequate caregiving, and require assistance in their ADL or instrumental activities of daily living (iADL), such as shopping for groceries.

Teams of Senior Care Associates (SCAs) will make home visits to assist beneficiaries with their hygiene, grooming, laundry, simple housekeeping, medication reminders, or monitoring of vital signs. This ensuite service will help seniors to enjoy the full benefits of living at home for as long as possible, without having the immediate need for admission to institutions like nursing homes, till further nursing care that cannot be supported at
home is required.

Mrs Debra Mok-Chan, director of MWS Service Planning & Development, said: “We want to walk alongside these frail older persons and their families to facilitate their ageing-in-place.”

Giving caregivers a respite
“Not only does this service provide very essential help to seniors who are living alone, it also helps seniors who are dependent on caregivers,” noted Debra. “Our ensuite service will allow caregivers to take a break once in a while to recharge, preventing them from burning out.”

“Being a caregiver can be a very demanding task, especially when there’s only one,” she added.

Care-giving duties can be challenging for caregivers. Younger caregivers may not be prepared for the emotional and mental stress, while older caregivers may struggle with the physical exertions that come from lifting and transferring the persons they are caring for.

Caregivers require respite from their care-giving duties every week, on top of weekends and public holidays, to relieve their stress from caregiving and to have time to run personal errands.

“With HomeJoy, we want to enable our older clients to live in their homes, in a community that they are comfortable and familiar with, despite their frailty,” said Debra. “At the same time, we will support caregivers in the care of their older and frail family members.”

CONTACT US at hr@mws.org.sg if you’re interested to join MWS HomeJoy as a Senior Care Associate.

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Chuang Bing Han is Web Editor (Communications and Fundraising) at Methodist Welfare Services.