Government releases consultancy study report on support to carers
The Labour and Welfare Bureau (LWB) today (June 9) released the report of the Consultancy Study on Needs and Support Required of Carers of Elderly Persons and of Persons with Disabilities in Hong Kong, submitted by the Consulting Team commissioned. The Government accepted in principle the directions and recommendations put forward in the study report and will follow up on them.
A spokesman for the LWB said, “The Government encourages ageing in place and assists persons with disabilities to live in the community. Carers play an indispensable and important role in helping elderly persons and persons with disabilities live at home. The Government provides various support services to enhance the capabilities of carers and relieve their stress. The consultancy study recognised the Government’s efforts in supporting carers and suggested integrating and enhancing relevant services.” At present, support services include care skills training, emotional support, respite care, lending of rehabilitation aids, assisting carers to set up mutual support groups, and various pilot schemes of financial assistance and support required (details in Annex).
The consultancy report proposed supporting carers along four directions, i.e. supporting carers in the community, capacity building of carers, multi-partite collaboration and ensuring the sustainability of carer support measures, and a Collaborative Model, which is divided into three tiers, namely carer strength building, encouraging family and informal support, and service integration. A total of 11 specific recommendations are proposed as follows:
- Raise awareness of carers about the importance, availability, and access of information, and increase the readiness of carers and intermediate parties to seek help from available services;
- Examine existing websites and encourage non-governmental organisations/social enterprises/corporates to develop a carer-centric and sustainable information gateway to address carers’ needs;
- Provide carer-centric training and intervention to promote carers’ well-being, self-management, ability to cope with stress, as well as to strengthen their caregiving capacity;
- Promote family-based support and mutual assistance among peer carers across their lifespan and at different stages of their caregiving journey;
- Cultivate a carer-friendly neighbourhood;
- Devise and promote a carer-friendly support environment in the workplace so as to help carers strike a balance between their work and their caregiving role;
- Develop a local self-administered assessment tool with the aim of increasing the knowledge of carers in terms of needs, risks identification and management, and potential support available;
- Identify high-risk carers and provide timely support;
- Better introduce, access and utilise assistive technologies to relieve the care burden, enhance caring capability and improve carers’ quality of life;
- Increase accessibility and diversity of respite service to provide relief to carers with ad-hoc needs; and
- Provide a good mix of services, voucher and cash to support carers.
The consultancy study emphasised that carer support is a shared responsibility of family, community, business and the Government. Multi-partite collaboration among different sectors, professions, organisations and the Government should be established to implement various service proposals, such as adopting flexible and innovative operation models and promoting the use of technology, and providing sustainable support through optimising government and non-government funding. The resources injected by the Government should be integrated, so as to enhance the effectiveness of services.
The spokesman said, “We will report the study report to the Legislative Council Panel on Welfare Services in due course. The Government will follow up on the directions and recommendations put forward by the consultancy report, consult stakeholders in a timely manner and consider practicable measures to support carers continuously.”
The Government commissioned the Consulting Team from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in July 2020 to conduct a consultancy study on the service needs of carers of elderly persons and of persons with disabilities. Through individual interviews, focus group discussions and surveys, the Consulting Team interviewed nearly 5 000 participants, including elderly persons/persons with disabilities and their carers, and stakeholders such as professional staff of elderly and rehabilitation services in public and private sectors, and consulted the relevant committees. The study report has been uploaded to the LWB’s website (www.lwb.gov.hk).