Caritas delivers Home Care service, which provides integrated – health and social – care for over 360 elderly people in a place where the elderly feels the most comfortable – at home.
Since 2002, 8 Caritas Home Care Centres have been set up in the cities of Ruse, Sofia, Belene, Plovdiv, Rakovski, Malko Tarnovo and the villages of Zhitnitsa (Plovdiv District) and Bardarski geran (Vratsa District), while the Caritas mobile teams provide complex medical and social care and in 5 other settlements located near the mentioned towns and villages: near Malko Tarnovo – the villages of Stoilovo, Zvezdets, Gramatikovo; near Zhitnitsa – the villages of Duvanlii and Kaloyanovo.
Information about Caritas Home Care
Caritas’ Home Care Service is designed to support the elderly with health problems who are unable to take care of themselves and need monitoring and specialised care.
The purpose of Caritas’ Home Care is to adequately respond to the needs of the elderly, taking into account both their health and social needs.
Caritas’ Home Care Service makes up for the existing gap in the country’s health and social system, namely the provision of complex medical and social care in a home environment without the need for hospitals and specialised institutions for the elderly.
The service provides for the elderly’s comfort and that they live their old age at their own home and they can rely on the care and support of specialists helping them to improve and maintain the health and dignified old-age experience.
Medical and social care provided by Caritas Home Care mobile teams complement the treatment process and post-hospital recovery, and promotes adequate healing after acute illness and surgery. They provide the necessary conditions for maintaining optimal good health in certain chronic diseases and contribute to preventing chronic conditions.
Caritas Home Care is provided by mobile teams of nurses and social assistants who visit the elderly at home and provide them with the necessary care according to their health and social needs.
The complex care provided by mobile teams make to Caritas’ Home Care Centres include:
- Medical manipulations (injections, blood draws, skin care, wounds, bandages, monitoring of vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose), control of medication, health consultations, giving feedback on the condition of the elderly to his/her GP, etc.);
- Body care (bathing, partial grooming, shaving, changing ureteral bag, diapers, etc.), general mobility – movement, feeding assistance; changing clothes, etc.);
- Social care (accompanying when attending a doctor and other institutions; regularly contacting the GP, buying medication, validating health books, assisting in household keeping – shopping; providing aids – crutches, walkers, etc.).
In addition to professional care, Caritas’ assistants help the elderly with their polite and friendly attitude, taking away the pain, distracting them from loneliness and understanding the monotonous and difficult days of their old age. The professional care at home provided by a person who has become a friend who donates peace, comfort and security is also the strongest drive of the desire for life and the path to living a dignified old age.
Caritas Home Care mobile teams consist of health care nurses and home carers providing social care.
Frequently, Caritas’ associates are the only people visiting the homes of the elderly mostly in need. So they are his/her closest ones – those holding their hand, telling them something and listening to what they have to say.
What distinguishes Caritas as a Catholic Church organization from many organizations is charity, empathy, and the ambition to relieve human suffering that is our first and foremost responsibility. The unique combination of professionalism and Christian attitude towards the neighbour “spans bridges” between age and dignified life and make God’s love for man and mercy among humans more visible.
There is still a gap in the understanding and willingness on the part of state institutions to recognise the need and take real action to reform the care of the elderly, to place the elderly at the core of their attention and that of the society, not only “on paper” in existing strategic documents without applying them in practice. At the same time, there is the long-term forecast for increasing the adult population in Bulgaria.
An integrated holistic approach to complex assessment of the needs and home care provision – psychosocial, medical and spiritual care – has not yet been introduced and is not a standard of care of the elderly in Bulgaria. Either strictly social, or medical care is provided, and the latter are almost in all cases non-domestic.
Care and services are fragmented between two separate responsible state institutions – the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP) and the Social Assistance Agency (ASA), without coordinating their efforts, while being regulated by two separate laws.
In 2017, nurses and social assistants in 8 Caritas Home Care Centres provided professional health and social care to 362 elderly people in 13 settlements in Bulgaria, visiting them in their homes several times a month, weekly, and in some cases every day.
To provide long-term integrated (health and social) home care for an elderly person per month costs BGN 90 are needed. It includes: transport costs for Caritas Home Care teams to reach the elderly (a total of 11 cars in 8 of the centres), administrative costs for 8 of the Caritas Home Care Centres; nurses’ and social assistants’ wages in 8 of the centres – a total of 21 people, including 12 nurses and 9 domestic helpers.
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