Fri, Mar 09, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Taipei’s elderly get acute care faster

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A program launched last year to link elderly Taipei residents in need of acute care with long-term care services has dramatically reduced the wait time for such services, the Taipei Department of the Health said earlier this week.

The department started the program in February last year to make it easier for elderly people leaving hospitals who still need acute care to access care services.

Under the program, the Taipei Long-term Care Management Center or a hospital’s discharge planning team evaluate a patient’s condition while they are still in the hospital and find out what kind of post-hospital assistance they need.

The department on Monday said that in 2016 the average time between when a patient left the hospital and when they began using long-term care services was 35 days, but in the past year, 88 percent of discharged patients were able to use the services within seven days after leaving the hospital.

The top three services requested were in-home care services (49.2 percent), shuttle and transportation services (46.6 percent) and assistive devices (42.6 percent).

The Ministry of the Interior’s statistics at the end of January showed that 441,260 elderly people — defined as aged 65 or older — had their household registration in Taipei, accounting for 16.45 percent of the city’s population. That is higher than the national average of 13.93 percent and means that one out of every six Taipei residents is elderly.

The department said the city’s elderly population is expected to reach 20 percent by 2021, which would make it a “hyper-aged society,” according to the WHO’s definition.

About 63.3 percent of elderly people rely on care provided at home, but more than 25 percent of caretakers feel stressed or burdened by their responsibilities, especially when having to take care of family members who have just been discharged from the hospital and are in need of post-acute care, the department said.

People who need to consult long-term care services can telephone the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Long-term Care Services Hotline (1966) or check the department’s long-term care Web site (health.gov.taipei/Default.aspx?tabid=879).

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