• Letter to Hong Kong

    Dear Poi Lam,

    Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s already 2017! I wish you a healthy, happy and productive 2017! It’s been a long time since I wrote to you. You should understand that there is never a dull moment in Hong Kong. Although my intent is to use this platform at the Legislative Council to improve the livelihood of the most needy, I have been invariably dragged into endless political struggles. The most recent crisis is the government’s legal action to disqualify four pro-democracy legislators. With oppressive measures of such a scale in play, it is very difficult to stay focused. I must try, I know. Because to seek social justice for the poor and vulnerable is my purpose of being in this position.

    For two consecutive days during the Christmas holidays, we went to visit a total of six residential homes for the elderly and the disabled. Our conclusion: that it is almost impossible to lead a life with dignity and autonomy when you loose your self care abilities. That’s a distressing thought because no one can escape from ageing and the possibility of becoming disabled.

    Is living in an institution the final destination for Hong Kong people? Do you want to die in an elderly home? These homes, unfortunately, are largely run by for-profit companies that offer low quality services in rather unpleasant facilities. Hong Kong has the highest institutionalisation rate among all developed places: seven institutional beds per 100 elderly people. Most other countries have less than five. And about 70% of these beds are provided in the market, a low-end market, that is.

    The moment you walk in to an elderly home, the urine and human body odour informs you that residents are not well cleaned. In the living room, typically, a group of residents would be sitting around a television set, seemingly watching a TV program. But if you look closer, most of them are actually starring in the air, without showing any interests or having any interactions with each other. Those sitting in the living room are the more active ones. There are many others who would choose to hide in their little cubicles or simply lie in beds, with quite a few on restraint. The cubicles are formed by low partitions, with usually two residents in each of them. It is not well lid or ventilated. Air conditioners are rarely used in order to save energy costs. Not much really goes on except for the daily routines: eating, sleeping, toileting, or taking medicine. Feeding and bathing would be done in a hurry because staffing is very thin. In fact, the law only requires a staff to resident ratio of 1:40 during the day and 1:60 during the night. Diapers are changed according to schedule, not to needs. There is no requirement for nurses, any therapists or social workers to be on site. And the space required for each resident is only 6.5 meters, including bathrooms, kitchens and all common areas.

    Why do we have such low standards? The government wants us to seek services from the market. And about 80% of the market is financed by CSSA, an income maintenance program that is designed to help the poor to sustain a basic living, not to pay for long term care. With about $8,000 per head, including room and board and everything else, and most importantly a profit margin, this is the kind of quality of care one can expect. If the standards are raised any higher, the operators of these private homes said they will go out of business. The government subsidised homes offer much better care but the queues are long. More than 30 thousands are waiting and about 6,000 of them died each year before they were offered a placement. The average wait is more than 3 years.

    Thus the choice is clear, if you call that a choice, that the final destination for those who cannot afford a foreign domestic worker is a poorly run private elderly home. It is truly ironic when we hear this government slogan of “ageing in place” when about 70 thousands of our elderly have to be institutionalised. What happens to community support services? Can day care and home care services help elderly and persons with disabilities to continue to live in the community? Of course they do. The only problem is insufficiency. The ratio of public resources devoted to community and residential services is 1:6. Government’s money doesn’t follow where its mouth is. Although it should be common sense that everyone wants independent living, our government does not seem to understand.

    With the Chief Executive election coming in March this year, we are hoping that the next government will be willing to look at the issues of long term care more seriously. The past governments have warned us many times about the rapid ageing of the population, only from an economic perspective. It is time for those in power to look at it from a social and human perspective.

    Fernando Cheung
    January 1, 2017


  • 預算案諮詢 擁8,428億儲備 議員促陳家強勿學曾俊華







    蘋果日報 2017-01-04 A11 | 港聞 預算案諮詢 擁8,428億儲備 議員促陳家強勿學曾俊華

  • 議員倡設監護人加簽制度




    根據資料,除了金融公司以不良手法逼客簽單,有健身會連智障人士也不放過,以不良手法令顧客要借貸買會籍。患自閉症及溝通障礙的18歲林先生, 去年6月在太古城遇到CaliforniaFitness(已結業)職員推銷,經遊說下以6萬元購買三年私人教練堂的會籍。惟他上課時多次遭安排站在一旁「罰企」兩小時直至下課,但中心卻紀錄他為「曾經上課」。此外,患輕度智障及患精神分裂的王先生(化名)被California Fitness職員游說買健身會籍,當王表示自己是清潔工,無力支付會費,惟教練不允許他離開及要求檢查提款卡,又帶王到銀行申請信用卡及透支,王在該教練遊說下共購買價值21萬元約200堂健身服務。

    成報 2016-12-30 A06 | 港聞 議員倡設監護人加簽制度

  • 金管研超市便利店免購物提款 照顧偏遠區長者 補銀行分行不足












    信報財經新聞 2016-12-28 A02 | 要聞 金管研超市便利店免購物提款 照顧偏遠區長者 補銀行分行不足

  • 精神病者院舍被關門院友被失業

    沙田威爾斯親王醫院將開展重建工程,5 座員工宿舍需拆卸,多家租用該處的智障人士及精神病康復者院舍要搬走,其中包括心理衛生會精神病康復者輔助居所「蓮覺樓」。部分已習慣自我照顧、半獨立生活的舍友只能「倒退」入住照顧程度較高的中途宿舍或長期護理院,甚至放棄工作。

    在蓮覺樓居往7 年的阿敏(化名)稱,舍友如一家人,常一起煮飯,大家是同路人,會互相提醒服藥和陪對方覆診, 「在這裏住好開心,如果自己一個住,可能無好(康復)得咁快」。因蓮覺樓被逼遷,阿敏不想打擾親友,亦不願一人生活,近月只好搬到政府買位的私人殘疾院舍。

    阿敏習慣在蓮覺樓自由出入,出門只要交代一聲,到私人院舍後則限制較多, 「出去食飯要通知,10 點前要返,過咗時間又要講原因」,另因不可同時享有政府買位和到庇護工場上班的雙重福利,阿敏不能再到庇護工場上班,私人院舍雖有不少活動,但阿敏仍希望上班實現個人價值。遷私人院舍失庇護工場工作資格

    心理衛生會總主任(服務)伍志華說,蓮覺樓現有11 男9 女居住,大部分住院者已安排搬遷。他稱蓮覺樓關閉,令屬低度照顧的輔助居所宿位減少,一些已過着半獨立生活的蓮覺樓舍友,反要倒退重回中度照顧的中途宿舍,甚至高度照顧的長期護理院,對他們復康進程是一大打擊。

    根據社署數字,全港共有12 間輔助院舍,其中5 間受政府資助,提供125 個宿位,現有262 人輪候;另除蓮覺樓外,有6 間由非政府機構營辦的自負盈虧輔助宿舍,提供約180 個宿位。

    社署回覆查詢時稱,蓮覺樓是自負盈虧院舍,選址、管理等均獨立運作,社署已多次與機構商討受影響院友的安排,其中8 名院友已獲編配受資助宿位或推薦體恤安置。


    立法會議員張超雄表示,社署未積極為協會找地方搬遷,只是幫舍友各散東西,他說現時輪候輔助宿舍需年多兩年,證明服務有需要, 「社署應出手幫手,唔係任由佢哋(蓮覺樓)死」。明報記者陳展希

    明報 2016-12-27 A04 | 港聞 | 特稿 精神病者院舍被關門院友被失業

  • 輪候殘疾院舍增6% 嚴重弱智須等16年





    成報 2016-12-26 A05 | 港聞 輪候殘疾院舍增6% 嚴重弱智須等16年

  • 濫藥家庭兒童 被迫滯留醫院



    頭條日報 2016-12-23 P38 | 港聞 濫藥家庭兒童 被迫滯留醫院

  • 滯留醫院3 歲童 遭綁約束衣 社工斥不人道醫局:跟進指引

    【明報專訊】不少兒童因受家人虐待或家人涉濫藥等問題需入住兒童院舍, 但其中61 人因院舍宿位不足而滯留醫院。在昨日立法會上,有前線社工指出,由於醫院人手不足,有滯留病房的兒童,包括3 歲小孩, 被穿上約束衣, 綁在牀上,直斥做法不人道。勞工及福利局副局長蕭偉強回應說,兒童滯留醫院情况 「不理想」。

    兒童院舍宿位不足61 童滯醫院在昨日立法會兒童權利小組委員會會議上, 蕭偉強表示, 本港現有3427 個兒童院舍宿位或寄養的長期宿位,以及249 個非緊急宿位。長期宿位的使用率近86%,緊急宿位則達92%。他預計,2017/18 年度將增加153 個院舍服務名額,又強調會爭取資源改善。


    團體「PathFinders」高級個案經理周翠珊昨於會上提到,2014 年一宗個案,一名3 歲小孩因其染毒癮的母親失蹤,需入住伊利沙伯醫院兒科病房檢查,翌日她往探望時,發現院方以約束衣綁起小孩,免他走動,「日復日咁綁住佢, 直至找到宿位」,形容情况令人難過,周一度在會議上飲泣。她及後陸續發現多間醫院,如瑪嘉烈醫院及廣華醫院等,亦有滯留小孩有相同待遇,而滯留期可長逾半年。



    明報 2016-12-23 A08 | 港聞 滯留醫院3 歲童 遭綁約束衣 社工斥不人道醫局:跟進指引

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