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Director of Social Welfare visits residential care home for persons with disabilities (with photos)

     The Director of Social Welfare, Mr Patrick Nip, today (May 16) visited a private residential care home for persons with disabilities (RCHD) in Kowloon City to see for himself the implementation of the Residential Care Homes (Persons with Disabilities) Ordinance and the Pilot Bought Place Scheme for Private RCHDs (BPS). He also listened to the residents who had benefited from the initiatives discussing their home life.

     During the visit, Mr Nip was briefed by the management on the latest developments of the home, including obtaining a licence issued by the Social Welfare Department (SWD) under the Residential Care Homes (Persons with Disabilities) Ordinance after upgrading its facilities and having more than half of its places purchased by the SWD under the pilot BPS, which has enabled more persons with disabilities in need to receive subsidised residential care services.

     Mr Nip then met and chatted with the residents in the home and was pleased to know that, in addition to residential care services, arrangements had been made for them to receive training on individual self-care as well as living skills, behavioural and emotional counselling, and to participate in various recreational and group activities. Based on individual needs, they would also be referred to day training centres/sheltered workshops and supported employment services.

     "The Government attaches great importance to the welfare needs of persons with disabilities. For subsidised residential care places, we are always committed to identifying suitable locations for the construction or conversion of RCHDs. It is expected that 627 residential care places will come into service this year. We have also earmarked suitable sites for the provision of an additional 746 residential care places in the next four years," Mr Nip said.

     "Furthermore, the Government has purchased places from private RCHDs starting from last year under a pilot scheme, through which we will provide 300 subsidised residential care places in four years so as to increase the supply of subsidised places and encourage private RCHDs to upgrade their service standards, thereby benefiting more persons with disabilities."

     He added, "The Government will also continue to develop community support services. For instance, the Pilot Scheme on Home Care Service for Persons with Severe Disabilities was introduced last year with the aim of providing appropriate support for persons with severe disabilities on the waiting list for subsidised residential care services and their family members as well."

     For the purpose of enhancing quality assurance, the statutory licensing scheme for RCHDs came into operation on November 18, 2011. In order to enable RCHDs to put in place improvement measures to meet the licensing standards, there is a grace period of 18 months starting from the commencement of the Residential Care Homes (Persons with Disabilities) Ordinance. At present, there are more than 300 RCHDs in the territory. Of them, 79 are private RCHDs and over 200 are subsidised and self-financing RCHDs operated by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The SWD has offered advice to the operating organisations/operators on matters relating to licensing issues and the processing of licence applications is in progress.

     To assist RCHDs in meeting the licensing standards, the SWD has invited NGOs to apply for the Lotteries Fund (LF) to carry out improvement works for subvented and self-financing homes. With the funding support of $39 million from the LF, the SWD has also introduced a Financial Assistance Scheme at the end of 2011 to assist private RCHDs in carrying out improvement works to comply with the licensing requirements in respect of building and fire safety. The maximum grant allocated to each private RCHD is 60 per cent of the total recognised cost of the improvement works. The Licensing Office of Residential Care Homes for Persons with Disabilities of the SWD will provide one-stop support for RCHDs to enhance their services and facilities, so as to reach the standard as required by the legislation.

      Meanwhile, to tie in with the implementation of the licensing scheme, the SWD has introduced the four-year pilot BPS to encourage private RCHDs to upgrade their service standards and to increase the supply of subsidised residential care places for shortening the waiting time for the service. The SWD will purchase around 300 places in phases with a total expenditure of $70 million. So far more than 200 places have been bought.

     Having regard to the response of service users, the number of private RCHDs and the quality of places provided by them, the SWD will review and continue to take forward the scheme so as to benefit more persons with disabilities. Private RCHDs joining the BPS must implement and comply with the Service Quality Standards drawn up by the SWD. A Service Quality Group, comprising persons with disabilities/family members/carers and local stakeholders, has been set up by the SWD to visit BPS homes regularly and give comments on the facilities and services provided by these homes.

Ends/Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Issued at HKT 17:33


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