With the Social Welfare Department’s Community Care Service Voucher for the Elderly (CCSV), Hong Kong elders can now age peacefully at home with reliable access to much-needed nursing support, all while saving thousands on home care costs.
According to a government survey, over 80% of senior citizens in Hong Kong would prefer to age in place — to continue to live in the comfort of their home, surrounded by family and neighbours they care about, in the community they love.
However, for families whose elderly loved ones suffer from chronic diseases, finding the right care can sometimes be challenging and expensive. The average cost of hospitalisation and regular check-ups alone can be thousands of dollars. Even the costs of hiring home care support can quickly add up, which strain the budgets of seniors already relying on limited incomes.
Luckily, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) has worked alongside local home care companies to launch the CCSV scheme. The scheme aims to help families in need of home care services while relieving their financial and caregiving pressures. If you would like to participate in this scheme, here’s what you need to know.
1. How do I help my loved ones register?
If a senior citizen is on the Central Waiting List (CWL) for subsidised long term care services and has not been allocated any services, their carer can help them apply for the voucher. They can request the social worker in the nearest elderly centre to do a Standardised Care Need Assessment. Seniors who pass the assessment will receive a letter from the SWD, inviting them to participate in the CCSV scheme.
To obtain the voucher certificate, carers and seniors simply need to fill out the relevant forms. Using the certificate, the elderly can access subsidised care services from designated social enterprises, non-profits, and private care organisations.
2. Are my loved ones eligible for the voucher?
If your elderly loved ones meet the following criteria, they will automatically be eligible to join:
- If the senior is assessed to have moderate or severe physical impairment, such as physical disability (for instance, mobility issues caused by stroke) or memory loss due to deteriorating cognitive function.
- If the senior is currently on the waiting list for residential care services or community care services.
- Also eligible if they have not used residential services or community care services.
In other words, if your elderly loved ones are physically and mentally healthy, and/or have received community care or residential care services, they may not be able to receive the voucher yet. However, the SWD has other schemes to help these families access elder care. Once eligible seniors receive an invitation, they can contact their social workers for assistance in the application.
3. What services does the CCSV scheme offer?
According to the SWD, the voucher is valid for three different types of services. The elderly can choose either elderly day-care services or home care services. Alternatively, they can also opt for both services at once.
Home care services include:
- Speech therapy
- Nursing support
- Hospital outpatient and discharge escort services
- One-on-one care
- Meal delivery services
- House cleaning services
- Home safety assessment and feedback
- Cognitive training
- Caregiver training
Elderly day-care services include:
- Day-care service
- Pickup services to and from the centre
4. Will my participation in the CCSV scheme affect my queuing position on the Central Waiting List?
No, it will not. When the elderly receive their voucher certificate, the SWD will not remove them from the Central Waiting List. Instead, the SWD will categorise their cases to ‘inactive cases.’ When participating in the scheme, and if the senior citizen wishes, a social worker can help change the case status from ‘inactive’ to ‘active.’ Their waitlisting positions will follow the original application dates.
5. What will it cost me?
For 2020-2021, the prices of care packages offered under the CCSV scheme are as follows: $9,870、$8,380、$7,460、$5,970, and $4,130 per month*.
This voucher uses a co-payment arrangement**, meaning the service users and the government will share the costs of care. For the elderly, there are six levels of co-payment: 5%, 8%, 12%, 16%, 25%, or 40% of the total cost of the package. The government will be responsible for paying the remaining balance.
For example, if a senior chooses a service package worth HK$4,130, and their voucher indicates that they only need to pay 5% of the co-payment amount, then he/she only needs to pay HK$205 to get high-quality, one-to-one home care service.
6. Which service organisations can I choose from using the voucher?
At present, Hong Kong has 179 service organisations accredited by the SWD that are eligible to provide services for the CCSV scheme. In early 2020, Evercare became one of the “Community Voucher” approved service providers, providing home care services.
Compared with the elderly day-care centres, private organisations such as Evercare can offer the following advantages:
- More service quotas;
- A more diverse range of services, suitable to the individual needs of elderly;
- No waiting time and complicated registration process, unlike community care or residential care services;
- Greater accessibility for elderly with mobility issues. Seniors can avoid commuting to an external centre;
- Greater flexibility. Since there are no limits on opening hours, service users can adjust service times based on their needs.
Organisations can arrange long-term or short-term home care services according to the needs of the patients. For instance, this includes arranging medical support staff for home dementia care and training, post-stroke physiotherapy, and so on. Elderly persons with mobility impairments do not need to travel to the day centre and can enjoy the services at home.
As they get older, your elderly loved ones may need different types of specialised care. With this government-funded project, family members can find the best mode of care for the elderly. If you want to know about Evercare’s CCSV service package, please call 3905 4000.
* The value of the community voucher will be adjusted annually based on the comprehensive consumer price index.
** The co-payment arrangement is based on the principle of “pay what you can,” allowing the elderly with lower affordability to receive more government subsidies, up to 95%. The SWD will conduct a means review based on the income of the elderly and their family members, and refer to the median monthly household income updated by the Census and Statistics Department every quarter to determine the co-payment level of the elderly. The assets of elderly households are not counted in this review.