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Southern programme helps elderly regain independence after illness

Feb 11. 2018
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By The Nation

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A SMALL southern hospital has reached out to housebound elderly people in its neighbourhood in the hope of giving them better quality of life.

“I am their care manager,” Tanyatip Sukpan, a certified nurse at the Tambon Ban Tamniab Hospital in Surat Thani’s Khiri Ratthanikhom district, said proudly.

She is in charge of drawing up care plans and the procurement of materials, such as walking aids and inflatable mattresses, needed for the dependant elderly people. 

Her team has 23 caregivers to look after housebound and bedridden elderly people in eight villages. 

“We focus on ensuring that the elderly people’s health conditions do not worsen and that they undergo rehabilitation to regain independent living,” Tanyatip said. 

Her hospital has joined the initiative of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) to provide long-term care to the elderly. 

Launched a few years ago, the initiative now covers more than 190,000 elderly people. 

Tanyatip said her hospital had worked with various other agencies and had received good support under the initiative. 

“We work as a team. For example, we can ask a physiotherapist to help by advising elderly people under our care,” she said.

The results, Tanyatip said, had been positive.

She said many elderly people were eager to do physical therapy after noticing that their conditions improved with rehabilitation.

“So instead of being bedridden, some have started using walking aids. Their spirits then lift, because that means they do not have to be stuck in just one room,” she said.

Caregivers are more specific in providing healthcare than village health volunteers, she said. 

During the past year, her team has successfully helped two formerly bedridden elderly people achieve the more active “housebound” category. 

“And three former housebound people can go out and socialise now,” she said. 

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