Health & Social Care Bangladesh
Enhancing quality of life for the elderly
In Bangladesh, the problem of caring for the elderly is acute not least because of climatic catastrophes that have hit the country. Flooding in the south combined with the rise of the sea table, has forced many families to move north to higher ground and to seek work in the city of Dhaka (see film ‘The water’s at the door’)
The population of Dhaka is currently around 30 million and rising and the services provided are unable to cope with demand. Families find they are unable to care for elderly relatives, as they need to be out earning money for food and a roof over their heads. These problems can cause immense strain leading to breakdowns in family life and the lowering of respect for the elderly. Elderly people become neglected and can suffer abuse to the extent that their quality of life is seriously affected. Yet help with very simple personal care activities such as bathing, washing hair, cleaning clothes, exercising etc can radically enhance their quality of life. This is the secular personal homecare service that Beveridge Carers provide.
A model of homecare service
The model for the operation of the care service in Bangladesh follows UK guidelines as provided by the UK Care Quality Commission with adjustments to take account of the different cultural environment.
Before starting the homecare service proper, the Foundation worked in collaboration with local government authorities and legislators such as Ward Commissioners and community leaders, and visited door-to-door in particular areas, to locate potential elderly service users. This activity also helped to inform the community about the Beveridge Foundation and its intended care work and helped to involve them in the process of initiating and developing the project.
Referrals from various contacts came in prompting the Foundation to then carry out risk and needs assessments of the elderly people put forward for receiving homecare. This involved looking at such things as general health, hygiene, physical and mental condition, behavioural patterns, socio-economic status etc. It also involved looking at the risks and potential problems for Beveridge Carers in delivering the service. For example, the degree of difficulty in travelling to a service user’s house.
On the basis of an assessment, a Service Acceptance Agreement is signed between the Foundation and the service user or by a family member on their behalf. A care plan is prepared that includes the services that will be provided. Each service user receives a gift from the Foundation consisting of essential items such as soap, antiseptic cream, cotton buds, coconut oil, comb, mirror, towel etc. They also receive an occasional free fruit basket containing such items as banana, apple, pineapple, grapes, guava etc.
Beveridge Carers are trained in-house by the Foundation and are regularly assessed to British social care standards. Advice about these guidelines and standards is provided by experienced staff in the London office that has also conducted training sessions with staff in Bangladesh. A trained and professional Beveridge Nurse is also on hand to offer assistance with service users as necessary. There are around 150 elderly people being cared for at home with around 30 employed SWBF care assistants.
Rizia Begum is in her 70s and lives in Dhaka. She developed eyesight problems adding to her feelings of neglect and loneliness. The Beveridge Foundation found her and after a successful operation on her eyes she can see well and is generally a lot better. When asked what she thought about the Beveridge Foundation Rizia started to cry and said:
“Your service is excellent. I pray for you from the core of my heart so that you can provide such services to all vulnerable people. Nodi (her Beveridge Carer) is a very nice person, she takes care of me as her own mother. She comes everyday, exactly on time.”