Engaging tailored e-platform and healthcare students promote the wellbeing of the elderly
HONG KONG, Sept. 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, elderly people have had to stay mostly at home. Confined to small living spaces for prolonged periods, many senior citizens have been prone to emotional challenges, affecting their mental wellbeing and health. Sino Group (‘the Group’) and the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation (‘NTFCF’), in collaboration with the School of Nursing, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (‘HKUMed’), and charitable organisations and NGOs, announced the launch of the two-year ‘Generations Connect’ Project (‘the Project’) to bring young people together with the elderly in an initiative that will see over 1,000 nursing students providing community intervention and behavioural coaching. Integrated with the concept of e-health literacy, the Project aims to enhance the physical, psychosocial and mental wellbeing of the elderly amid the epidemic. With the target of serving 10,000 elderly people, the Project will commence in November this year with its first phase of pilot services.
Nursing students will be engaging the elderly in dialogues to promote health and wellbeing, through regular home visits, phone greetings and video conferencing, assisting them to use electronic devices to cultivate their eHealth literacy.
The ‘Generations Connect’ Project will see over 1,000 nursing students provide community intervention and behavioural coaching to enhance the physical, psychosocial and mental wellbeing of the elderly in need.
HKU Nursing Students Offer Personalised Support to 10,000 Elderly People
Supported by a HK$10 million joint donation from the Group and the NTFCF, the School of Nursing of HKUMed, and eleven charitable organisations and NGOs will be devising the scope of services in tandem to focus on the needs of the elderly aged 65 or above. Coupled with the domain knowledge of HKUMed’s nursing curricula, the Project will also develop an elderly-friendly e-platform and mobile app. Nursing students will build relationships with the elderly and engage them in dialogue to promote health and wellbeing through regular home visits, phone greetings and video conferencing. Self-care tips for COVID-19, health assessments, and mental health education will also be offered to provide timely and appropriate support for those in need. In addition, the Project will organise various activities to encourage them to cultivate healthy hobbies and expand their social circle for the holistic improvement of mental health, lifestyle and overall wellbeing.
Tailored Wellbeing Online Platform for the Elderly
With more and more elderly people becoming familiar with mobile apps for communication, the concept of Mobile Health (‘mHealth’) is being integrated into this Project with a specially curated health benefit-focused e-platform tailored to the needs of the elderly. With personalised support from the nursing students, elderly people can learn to access pertinent information, training materials, games and videos, cultivating their eHealth literacy. With an emphasis on preventative care and self-help health resources, the Project aims at encouraging the elderly to keep abreast of developments in public e-health services moving forward. Those facing difficulties in using the Internet will also be assisted through agile support services.
In addition to support services for the elderly in need, the School of Nursing, HKUMed will leverage two years of clinical data and application cases to study the effectiveness of community interventions for improving the physical and mental health of the elderly in Hong Kong. Training workshops facilitated by charitable organisations and NGOs will also help upgrade the skills of nursing students for better communication with the elderly, while giving them the opportunity to put what they have learnt into practice.
Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee, the School of Nursing of HKUMed, said, ‘The School and I are honoured to receive this generous donation from Sino Group and the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, and for the opportunity to work with eleven local charitable organisations and NGOs to enhance the health and wellbeing of the elderly, as well as their capability of using electronic devices in communication. As the elderly population grows, demand for social and medical care increases. The School of Nursing proactively offers various intervention activities to enhance communication with the elderly and enable early assessment of their physical and mental health, providing timely support and improving the elderly’s skills in coping with the challenges of life, and enhancing their wellbeing and quality of life. HKUMed’s School of Nursing offers comprehensive training in nursing, preparing students to serve the community and safeguard public health.’
‘The young nursing students are dynamic and radiant, and ready to unleash their creativity as they design effective means of communication with the elderly under this Project, which blends curriculum teaching and research. In so doing, the students may contribute not only to building closer ties across generations, but also promoting the physical and mental health of the elderly. This Project aims at helping the elderly adopt a healthy lifestyle and increase their health awareness using a preventive approach, which aligns with the Government’s policy of strengthening primary health care in the community. It will prepare and highlight students’ roles as health coaches in promoting elderly health in the community,’ added Professor Chan.
Mr Daryl Ng, Deputy Chairman of Sino Group and Director of the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, said, ‘Sino Group and the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation are delighted to partner with The School of Nursing of HKUMed, The University of Hong Kong and eleven community partners and NGOs in this meaningful programme. We believe that the youth of Hong Kong is full of compassion and care for others, and with the ageing of the Hong Kong population, a particularly vulnerable group are the elderly. Through pairing up youth volunteers with the elderly in need, we hope that a beneficial synergy can come about allowing the elderly to be cared for and the youth volunteers to learn important life lessons.’
Participating charitable organisations and NGOs in this Project include Aberdeen Kai-fong Welfare Association Social Service, Christian Family Service Centre, Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service – Hong Kong, Haven of Hope Christian Service, The Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society, Kowloon, Methodist Centre, The Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council, The Hong Kong Society for the Aged, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council Limited, United Christian Nethersole Community Health Service, and Hong Kong Young Women’s Christian Association.