Abstract 8 - Tele-health Approach for Ageing-in-Place under COVID-19 (South Kwai Chung Social Service)

Abstract 8

South Kwai Chung Social Service is a non-profit making organization that aims to provide primary health services to foster ageing in place in Kwai Tsing District, Hong Kong. The COVID-19 pandemic has made a great impact on the elders who living alone or with spouses and suffering from more than two chronic diseases. The pandemic poses two issues in the livelihood of the elders: (1) delayed medical intervention due to avoidance to hospitals and clinics, and (2) psychological problems such as anxiety about the situation and minimized social contact. We initiated an innovative service strategy to support them, both physically and psychologically, by adopting tele-health approach. Approximately 450 elders in the community received our services to meet their urgent needs.

To address (1), we provide them video clinical consultations and medicine deliveries. Supports from nurse, physiotherapist, and other health practitioners are also provided if needed. Our preliminary survey suggests that, after consulting with the health professional, the participants become more confident in health management. Their physical health has also been improved through the services. Finally, our service reduces the burden on the local public healthcare system.      

                                                                                                                                                                                            Caring calls conducted by social worker, healthcare professionals and volunteers are made to monitor elders’ wellness and identify service needs. Counselling services and home visits are provided to those who shows sign of psychological and health problems. Online and (physical) centre-based activities are held to facilitate their social connection and to maintain their physical and psychosocial well-being. Our preliminary survey suggests that the participants felt emotionally positive after receiving these services.                                                                                                                                  

The services are highly accessible due to our proximity to the users. Based on the large number of users and the positive results yielded from survey, we believe that this project provides a valuable community experience on mobile healthcare and tele-medicine approach in Hong Kong.