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Tai Po Carers' Group|Suggestions to Policy Address 2023

Formulating the carer-oriented policies

The Hong Kong government has not conducted comprehensive statistics on the carer population and has not released relevant figures, significantly affecting the planning of carer services and support in various sectors of society. We propose that the government promptly establish specific and comprehensive definitions for carers, provide long-term resources and service planning for multiple types of carers, and formulate policies and legislation to support carers.


Providing adequate and quality care services

We believe that even with the addition of a designated hotline for carer support, if there are insufficient service slots and social workers are unable to answer calls, carers who make the calls will still feel helpless. Therefore, the fundamental solution to addressing carer stress is for the government to make a determined effort to increase resources and resolve the long waiting lists for services needed by various individuals.


Seeking support for carers to combat stigmatization

The Hong Kong society generally views caregiving for family members as a basic responsibility and considers carers who seek community resources for caring for their loved ones (or family members) as "passing on the responsibility" or "shirking their duties." Carers face social criticism when seeking support, indirectly affecting their willingness to seek services or support and leading them to shoulder the caregiving responsibilities alone, resulting in immense carer stress. Surveys conducted in other countries show that home care services provided by carers and utilizing government support allow carers to have respite and maintain appropriate relationship boundaries, thereby strengthening family relationships. Therefore, besides providing comprehensive care, the effective utilization of community support by carers also alleviates carer stress. Our advocacy group suggests that the government and NGOs supporting carers organize community education activities to eliminate societal stereotypes about carers and encourage carers to accept external support.


Identifying and Interventing high-risk carer cases at early stage

Social welfare services in Hong Kong are mainly categorised into five areas: youth, elderly, families, persons with disabilities, and community services. Carers need to search for suitable services and information based on the identity of the care recipients. Furthermore, not all organisations currently provide carer services, resulting in fragmented carer information and increasing barriers to accessing services for carers. Considering that carers face tremendous caregiving stress and heavy workloads in their daily lives, and a carer may have the opportunity to care for different types of care recipients, it becomes even more challenging for high-risk carers to access relevant services. Our advocacy group suggests that the government, through the Social Welfare Department, proactively identify high-risk carer cases and utilise the network of various district social welfare organisations to refer these cases to appropriate social welfare units. Through mutual complementation and communication among different organisations, cross-service case integration work can be carried out, providing appropriate support.


Enhancing transparency in the scope of work for care teams

In June of this year, Under Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr. Ho Kai-ming, JP, stated during a meeting of the Subcommittee on Promoting Carer-centric Policies in the Legislative Council that the government is exploring the feasibility of providing additional support to carers through care teams. However, we believe that care teams have not adequately explained their service targets to the public. Without defining who is considered "in-need residents in the district," carers do not know that care teams can support them and therefore do not seek help from care teams. We suggest that care teams publicly disclose their functions, service scope, and specific service targets to increase transparency, enabling carers to seek assistance when necessary. At the same time, the government must ensure that care team members have the capacity to support carers.

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