Expert says they will be protected as the government wants to screen their residents for Covid-19, too. FMTNews Covid19
Expert says they will be protected as the government wants to screen their residents for Covid-19, too.
-May 10, 2020 11:15 AMTesting for Covid-19 is being carried out in government-run care homes, followed by registered private care centres and then the unregistered centres. (Bernama pic)PETALING JAYA: Unregistered care centres for the elderly have been urged to identify themselves for Covid-19 testing, after a decision by the health authorities to screen all residents and staff of care homes nationwide.
An expert on health care for the elderly, Dr Tan Maw Pin of Univeristi Malaya, said it is difficult for the government to trace unregistered centres, as it does not have their contact details.The geriatrician said that according to official figures, there are 90 government aged care facilities, 350 registered and more than 1,000 unregistered care centres for the elderly.
“The government’s ambition is to test unregistered care homes, too. It’s hard to reach them, it wouldn’t have contact details for these unregistered care homes,” she said.Tan said swab tests will be carried out by health ministry officers, and expressed confidence that no punitive action will be taken against these centres because their confidentiality will be maintained.
“Some of them might be worried. That’s why we need to reassure them. It’s unethical for us to reveal any personal information for anybody who seeks treatment,” she said.She said the centres remain unregistered because of stringent registration criteria, which will see a hike in the costs charged to their residents who may not be able to afford higher fees.
“The truth is the standards required by the authorities have driven them underground. The requirements for registration are too rigorous. For them to meet the standards, they have to increase the amount they charge their residents.”Tan said testing, however, is important for the country to avoid a higher mortality rate such as those in Europe where 50% of deaths come from care home residents.
She said this is an opportunity for unlicensed care homes to come forward and get themselves tested and “be counted”.“The hope is the authorities will recognise their value and that there will be no judgment.“If you don’t protect them, we will not win the war against Covid-19. Now is the time to get unregistered care homes under their (the government’s) wing, look after them and provide for them to make sure all their residents are safe.”
The health ministry recently announced that all residents and staff of care homes will be tested for Covid-19, following the easing of restrictions under the movement control order (MCO) to open up the economy.Tan welcomed the prompt action by the health authorities, saying it is important to ensure that people in care homes are free of the virus to prevent its spread among high-risk residents.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the testing would start with the government-run care homes, consisting of Rumah Seri Kenangan and Rumah Ehsan.“After that, we will proceed with the registered private care homes, which started on Monday (May 4), and then the unregistered care homes,” he said
Tan said with the implementation of the conditional movement control order (CMCO), there were concerns that people may think they were free to visit their friends and relatives.“Particularly for older people, the MCO should still apply. They should still stay at home, they shouldn’t go out. It’s up to the community to provide for them because they are particularly vulnerable.
“If they catch Covid-19, they are the ones who will be needing our hospital services and, unfortunately, they will be the ones who will contribute to our mortality rate,” she said.CLICKFOR OUR LIVE UPDATE OF THE COVID-19 SITUATION IN MALAYSIA Read more: Free Malaysia Today »
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