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SWD is committed to assisting the tetraplegics

The Social Welfare Department has been providing a wide range of services to tetraplegics with a view to encouraging and facilitating their integration into the community, a spokesman for the department said today (November 1).

"We are fully aware of the concerns and special needs of tetraplegics living in the community and we have been identifying all possible resources to help them," the spokesman reiterated.

There is financial assistance in the form of disability allowance, Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) and medical waiver. Community support services include day care, respite care, integrated home care, community nurse service, community occupational therapy service, counseling, training for carers and home modification service.

The department has recently revised the application criteria for the Care and Attention Allowance under the CSSA Scheme to facilitate these patients to hire personal carers. Up to a maximum of $4,296 per month can be reimbursed according to actual expenses.

"Starting from November 1, 2004, the Enhanced Care and Attention Allowance has been introduced for eligible tetraplegic patients to include a monthly special addition of $1,115 on top of the monthly expenditure required for hiring a carer," the spokesman said.

The Government is also seeking community resources to support tetraplegics'''''''' needs. The Yan Chai Hospital Board has thus set up the Yan Chai Tetraplegic Fund in September this year with the aim of providing assistance to relieve the financial difficulties of these patients.

The SK Yee Medical Fund has allocated a total of $1 million to "The Hong Kong Neuro-muscular Disease Association" to subsidise purchases of medical appliances and consumable items.

The Integrated Home Care Services have extended their service to cover severely disabled persons in August this year in order to provide holistic care and support services to these persons according to their individual needs, including meals delivery, home-making, escort services, personal and nursing care.

Furthermore, medical specialists of the Hospital Authority recommend the needed rehabilitation appliances/ aids and advice on home modifications to facilitate tetraplegics to live in the community. The Housing Authority would be responsible for works of modifications.

"Apart from providing tangible resources, the department will continue working in various fields such as public education to assist the patients to integrate into the community. We are committed to offering our full support to them," the spokesman stressed.


End

Monday, November 1, 2004