Friday, October 4, 2019

Open Public Suggestion to the Singapore Government: Caregiver leave can help family caregivers a great deal

The salient points raised by the writer are valid concerns which our caregivers face in helping their loved ones cope better (Policies must proactively support caregivers, September 28, 2019. The Straits Times).


Caregiving is taxing and a costly affair as most of these caregivers pay a heavy price: Physically, mentally and financially. 


As caregiving is often a 24-hour task, many caregivers have to end of giving up their full-time jobs.  


Therefore, I am sure our tireless caregivers will welcome the move by the Ministry of Health to provide the much-needed Home Caregiving Grant of $200.


An important task for caregivers is to bring their sick loved ones to hospital and clinics on a regular basis. If a caregiver is employed, he/she will have to apply for vacation leave to accompany their loved one for their medical appointment/s.


Therefore, to promote caregiving as a noble task, I urge the policy makers to consider providing a caregiver leave scheme of between 3 to 5 days. 


Dr Kalyani Kirtikar Mehta was spot on when she pointed out that if caregivers are supported by other family members, the community and the government, they are less likely to suffer burnout.


Unfortunately, as caregiving is daunting, most, if not all the time, the caregiver role is often not shared, leaving just one person to handle this unenviable task. It is even more taxing, daunting if any caregiver has to look after a loved one with mental disorders, and I am sure many of our Ministers and Members of Parliament know this only too well. Thus, the support mechanism for caregivers must be put solidly in place and be ion-going.


If caregiver leave is implemented, I have every confidence that other family members will step forward and share in caregiving, thereby easing the load of a primary caregiver.


In closing, allow me to lead you to video production entitled ODE TO DORIS – Conqueror of Schizophrenia produced by a group of poly students who felt for both myself and my late wife, Doris Lau Siew Lang,


Raymond Anthony Fernando

Reply from MOH

Dear Mr Raymond,

We refer to your email dated 4 October 2019 to the Ministry of Health.

Thank you for your feedback.

You may wish to know that your case is under assessment and we will require some time to review. We will respond in due course.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Jeffrey Lee
for Quality Service Manager
Ministry of Health, Singapore


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