SINGAPORE - Nursing home costs here may have risen over the years, but so have Government subsidies for patients.
Last week, The New Paper reported on how nursing homes here were looking at revising their fees.
Responding to queries from TNP, a Ministry of Health spokesman said that since July 1, the subsidies for intermediate and long-term care (ILTC) services have been enhanced across the board, while GST has been absorbed for subsidised patients.
MOH has also raised the payouts for the Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly. Said the spokesman: "With this, about two-thirds of Singaporeans will be able to receive some form of financial assistance if they require ILTC services."
Some of these services are provided by community hospitals, nursing homes, day rehabilitation centres, dementia day-care centres and inpatient hospices. There are also home-based health-care services.
The increase in subsidies will have the greatest impact on households in the middle-income bracket. "In a year, about 40,000 patients will benefit from the subsidies," said the spokesman. "One-fifth of them are nursing home patients."
He also said the subsidies will help to soften the increase in nursing home costs.
He said: "Along with Medifund and charity assistance, most needy patients and families would either see no change in charges or see a decrease in out-of-pocket payment of up to 35 per cent."
Nursing homes can also allocate their charity dollars to patients who require additional financial assistance.
The subsidies also spell good news for caregivers.
Said the spokesman: "They are higher for home and centre-based care services so as to encourage families to use such services."
A $120 Foreign Domestic Worker grant is also available for households employing maids to take care of their elderly at home.
This article was first published in The New Paper.