Our home-care teams, comprising our former hospice patients and others living with AIDS, make regular home visits to over 350 families living in 60 different slum communities in Bangkok.
- To improve the quality of life of poor people living with HIV/AIDS, allowing them to reside in their family homes, receive proper health care, and live productive lives.
- To educate their families about prevention, care, and compassion.
- To ensure the care and education of the children in these families.
History: The HDF operated the city’s first and largest free AIDS hospice from 1993 to 2012. Since anti-viral drugs became accessible, many of our patients have been able to return home to family. To prepare the families for their arrival and create a positive, life-affirming home environment, we established our Home care Program in 1999. In 2012 we closed our hospice and shifted our focus to our home care program
Homecare Initiatives and Activities
Hospital group visits: We work with government hospitals and make monthly visits to groups of poor PLWA, conducting workshops on receiving and administering proper medication; insuring access to treatment; and assessing, maintaining, and strengthening health at home.
Mercy Centre-based counseling: We receive phone-in and walk-in inquiries from new patients, existing patients, and family members of PLWA - approximately 20 inquiries per day. In addition, our homecare patients have a direct line to Mercy Centre for questions about treatment and medication or whenever they need help regarding family problems and emergencies.
Hospital registration: HDF-Mercy Centre homecare staff assist in all facets of patient registration at government hospitals. Many of the poor living with AIDS lack the identification papers required to receive government health benefits. In such cases, we assist in gaining the proper documents, a process that often requires travel to home provinces, paperwork, registration, and many impediments.
Transportation assistance to and from hospitals: Many patients are unable to carry themselves to a hospital on public transportation or lack the means to pay for transportation. We provide whatever assistance is required to ensure our patients visit their doctors for regular check-ups and hospital visits.
Home maintenance and repair: Many homecare patients live in squalid conditions, where it is difficult to maintain proper hygiene. We make home repairs whenever necessary and also help relocate families and provide emergency housing assistance for those facing eviction.
Nutrition: Nutritional supplements, rice, and dry foods.
Job placement, income-earning activities, and micro-loans:HDF Mercy-Centre helps place the poor living with AIDS in both full- and part-time positions. We also provide micro-loans and emergency loans.
Public Health Clinics:
Mercy Centre currently works with five public clinics in poor communities. We train neighborhood volunteers how to reach out to their neighbors and to identify those individuals in need of medical assistance. We also teach the volunteers how to educate their neighbors about HIV/ADIS prevention and compassion for those infected.
Our outreach teams work inside several Bangkok prisons, providing information and counsel to hundreds of inmates living with AIDS. Many former inmates continue to seek and receive our support upon release from prison.
Long Term ARV Medication Side Effects and Homecare: There are serious long term side effects caused by AIDS medications, including kidney and liver failure. We are now training our staff to understand and counsel outpatient treatments.
Children’s Outreach Network:
We have initiated a network that brings together all the children we reach through our homecare programs, HIV positive and negative children alike, and unite them in regular activities with our own children living in Mercy Centre. Children from our homecare network now have a place, outside their own homes, where they know they will always be welcomed and loved.
The parents and families of these children also join together with our homecare staff at Mercy Centre and work together to resolve common issues, which include:
- Their children’s education. We provide funding assistance whenever needed to keep kids in school. We also visit schools whenever the children are experiencing discrimination
- Their children’s future. We work with the families to identify each child’s family support system, including grandparents, aunts and uncles who can care for and love these children in the event they are orphaned.
Communication. We teach the parents what we have learned from our own experience in communicating the meaning of HIV/AIDS to our children.
General Homecare Program Benefits
- Advice regarding medication (where to get and how to take), the provision of nutritional and dry goods supplements, and all additional homecare assistance from HDF-Mercy Centre have boosted physical health and wellbeing and provided a higher, more rewarding quality of life with family.
- Counseling services have helped increase understanding of HIV/AIDS for both PLWA and family, reduced their fears, and produced more positive life-sustaining attitudes.
- Micro-loans and job placements have provided a regular income, a greater sense of integrity and self-worth, and a more positive outlook on life.
Ignorance, discrimination, guilt, shame, and poverty.
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