MY 85-YEAR-OLD mother suffered a stroke in July, became semi-comatose and was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital's neurology ward. In August, her doctors transferred her to a recovery ward because of her long stay.
The family accepted the move as we felt it was better than admitting her to a nursing home, which might not have trained nurses for tube feeding and other daily requirements essential for a stroke patient.
But there was a shortage of nurses in the recovery ward, and we feared that they might not be able to provide round-the-clock care for my mother.
So we hired a maid to complement the nurse's caregiving duties.
She observed what the junior nurses did and learnt how to manage my mother's hygiene and basic living necessities, and reduced the nurses' workload. She provides care through the night, as she sleeps in the room.
We asked the Ministry of Manpower about the maid levy grant of $120 a month for the care of our bedridden mother. Our per capita household income qualifies us for the grant.
The ministry replied that as the patient does not stay at home to be cared for by the maid, we are not entitled to the grant.
The ministry should review its policy.
While there are nurses present in the recovery ward, caring for all is difficult because of a shortage of nurses. It is only right that the family took the initiative to hire a maid to look after my mother in her ward.
It is immaterial whether maids who care for the elderly do so at home or in the hospital. A grant should be given as long as it is proven that the maid does take care of the sick and the infirm.
Perhaps the ministry could consider a different grant category with a different amount to cover such a situation.