Law to ensure care for elderly

PETALING JAYA: A new law to ensure that senior citizens will be cared for with integrity and dignity is expected be tabled in Parliament when it meets in October.

Health director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Aged Healthcare Act, currently being drafted, would regulate private institutions and community care providers for those aged above 60.

“The Act is to ensure there will be a minimum quality of care for aged persons in an accessible, affordable and sustainable manner.

“Details of the proposed standards are still under discussion,” he said.

The next Dewan Rakyat meeting is to take place from Oct 7 to Nov 27.

Dr Noor Hisham said the other aims of the Act were to ensure the well-being of the aged, encourage aging with independence and regulating unregistered nursing homes.

The Health Ministry, he said, was studying healthcare models from countries such as Australia, Japan, South Africa and Singapore in drafting the law.

“With the Act, healthcare service providers for persons aged 60 years and above will be governed under this Act,” he said.

“Those already registered under the Care Centres Act will continue to be governed under the Act, until the expiry date of their operating licence.

“After which they have to be registered and governed under the new Aged Healthcare Act,” Dr Noor Hisham added.

However, he said institutions licensed under the Private Health Care Facility Act could continue to operate, as the standards set by this law was sufficiently high.

Dr Noor Hisham stressed the need to introduce the Act as the lack of such a law would compromise the standard of care and dignity of senior citizens.

“The country’s population is moving towards an aged nation by 2030, where it is estimated that 15% of our population will be aged 60 years and above.

“Currently, this age group comprises 8.4% of our population,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said it was timely to have a mechanism to govern all institutions and care providers for the aged.

“From discussions with stakeholders, it is anticipated that the demand for care services for elderly by the year 2030 is expected to increase.

“There has also been a mushrooming of many institutions and healthcare service providers which have yet to be regulated in terms of the quality and cost of their services,” he said.

Source: The Star

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