Hua Mei Centre
for Successful Ageing

As a pioneer in its field of service, Hua Mei Community Care Management Services (HMCCMS) is greatly encouraged by the positive impact it has made in the lives of its elderly clients.

In Madam Tan’s case, a 78-yearold widow living in Chinatown, the integrated medical and social healthcare model upon which HMCCMS is built helps illustrate how care management can enable ageing-in-place. Estranged from her daughter, she lived alone in a 1-room rental flat.

The rental flat Madam Tan stayed in did not have a lift landing on every floor. The elderly lady did not have sufficient strength to navigate the stairs in order to reach the lift. As such, she required assistance whenever she needed to leave the house. Learning of her plight, HMCCMS worked with the relevant authorities to facilitate her move to a flat in Redhill with direct access to a lift landing.

Madam Tan suffered from multiple chronic health issues — severe osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, a hunched back, cataract in her right eye and  scarring of the cornea in her left eye. She complained frequently about the backache she has been experiencing but did not pursue treatment because she had restrictions in her mobility as well as financial difficulties. As she had been homebound for a long time, she became fearful of falling and gradually lost the confidence to leave her flat. At home, she moved around by holding onto furniture for support, but this only added to her fall risk.

HMCCMS addressed Madam Tan’s fear of falling by providing her with a quad stick and training her on how to use it. She was also educated on fall prevention and home safety. She mastered the use of the quad stick and her gait improved over time. The team referred her to Hua Mei Clinic for geriatric assessment and treatment for her backache, and followed up by monitoring her medical compliance and appointments. Seeing that she was in dire financial straits, HMCCMS team assisted her in applying for Medifund through the then-Alexandra Hospital so as to defray her medical expenses.

To further assist her in her daily living, the HMCCMS team equipped her with a commode and applied for the Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society’s escort, housekeeping and Meals On Wheels services on her behalf. To reduce her isolation, she was referred to the nearby Seniors Activity Centre as a place for social engagement and emotional support.

At times when Madam Tan needed additional assistance in matters such as translating official letters written in English and Chinese to the Hokkien dialect, the team would be ready to lend a hand.

The team supported her wish to live independently at home till her deteriorating health made it unviable for her to continue to do so. She was admitted to a nursing home and discharged from HMCCMS’s service in 2009

Key Learning Points:

  1.  An integrated medical and social healthcare model enables ageing in place.
  2. Provision of clients with the equipment they need, together with training and education helps support and enhance their day-to-day life.
  3. Work with other agencies to provide all-rounded support for the client.