Monday, March 3, 2014

Raymond's letter to The Straits Times: Nursing Homes should take in mentally infirm, too

My letter to The Straits Times on the above matter was published on Monday 3rd March 2014.
About a year ago, I approached St Theresa’s Home for assistance in placing my wife in its nursing home should I die before her.

My wife is responding well to treatment for schizophrenia but she also has severe arthritis, which leaves her mobility severely impaired, and I am worried sick that she will not be able to take care of herself.

As my wife’s sole caregiver for 37 years, we both need all the support we can get.

As a contingency plan, I also made similar inquires at St Joseph’s Home in early January.
However, I received a rude shock from the social worker who told me, in a very condescending manner, that the St Joseph’s Home would not take in psychiatric patients because “they cause trouble”.

She also told me of the necessity to go through the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC).
With the AIC now commissioned by the Ministry of Health to assess people wanting to admit loved ones into nursing homes, this places us in a very difficult position as there is far too much red tape.

I have had endless problems with them this year over my 89-year-old mother’s home care. We ended up paying more than $10,000 for her 70 days of hospitalisation.

People with mental illness face a lot of discrimination in their isolated and lonely lives, and this is just one example.

Must my wife end up on the streets when I die because of blatant discrimination and rigid systems?

Raymond Anthony Fernando

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