- Care for the Elderly Begins at Home -
In May 2012, Tag sent MATAV’s Director of Professional Management and International Relations, Rachel Shamir, to Tbilisi to provide professional training and consultation in preparation for the establishment and operation of a new Home Care Service for the Elderly in Tbilisi and other cities in Georgia, where there is a large population of housebound elderly that is in great need of personal care at home.
A social enterprise, those who can afford to will pay for services, funds from which will enable the service to be provided to the more disadvantaged population.
Rachel presented guidelines on how to:
- Identify and locate the elderly in need of care
- Determine the most pressing needs of the local elderly population
- Choose the best locations for pilot centres
- Expand the pool of potential caregivers
- Conduct training and provide ongoing support and supervision
- Organise the administrative side of such an organisation, including operating costs and design of information systems
MATAV is also providing translated materials that cover topics such as the psychological aspects of ageing, communication with the elderly, and practical home care issues such as bathing, hygiene, and coping with physical difficulties.
During her visit, Rachel was able to determine which modifications will be necessary to best adapt the MATAV model to conditions in Tbilisi. Serendipitously, in September 2012 the Georgia government passed a new health law which provides statutory financing for home care provision for some elderly. The Georgia Red Cross is now better placed to help respond to this change in the law.
In August 2012, Tag brought a delegation of professionals from the Georgia Red Cross to Israel for a week-long training seminar in establishing and operating the home care service. The seminar provided a comprehensive, hands-on introduction to the workings of MATAV, from accounting and administration through the computer system and recruitment to training, advanced training, oversight and supervision. The visiting professionals accompanied Georgian-speaking personnel on home visits to Georgian-speaking clients and spent time in various facilities, including a day centre for the mentally frail. Training on nursing care was also provided by Magen David Adom.
There were a number of emotional encounters, such as a meeting with veteran members of the MATAV staff who immigrated to Israel from Georgia. They conversed openly with the delegation members about both the difficulties they encounter and the satisfaction they derive from their work with the elderly population.
At the concluding session, Georgia Red Cross Secretary General Medea Margania-Avaliani said: “I lack the words to describe how pleased we are with this seminar… it was important to us to see everything with our own eyes. Everything was organized so that we were able to see the process from beginning to end… We now feel ready to get to work to apply the MATAV model in our country.”
Home Care Project Coordinator Nino Osepaishvili commented: “We had only a general idea about the project. We read professional literature, watched films and gathered information, but now that we have experienced the model and seen it in action, it has all come together in our minds…”
Senior Nurse Nino Samadalashvili concluded: I want to thank everyone involved – Tag, MATAV, MDA – it was an amazing seminar, organised in an outstanding manner. We knew from the start that we were to visit a professional organisation that would give us detailed, extensive information, but we had no idea that we would meet so many professional people with such open hearts who would give so much of themselves…”
The project is continuing with the Georgia Red Cross reporting that it has conducted more than 20 working meetings with the Parliament of Georgia and the Ministry of Health. Training has been provided to more than 200 caregivers in Tbilisi and four regions of Georgia (Adjara, Kakheti, Guria and Samegrelo) where 750 elderly people are now receiving humanitarian homecare services. .
Presentations have also been made at four 4 hospitals and three universities in Georgia to raise awareness and understanding of the project. Discussions are ongoing with four local municipalities (Tbilisi, Kakheti, Guria and Samegrelo) to ensure that the home care project will be implemented in those cities.
With the support of the European Union and the Danish Red Cross, the Georgia Red Cross published a home care handbook in the Georgian language, which draws upon the training provided by MATAV and Tag.
“GRCS has been cooperating with Tag since 2010… [and is] delighted to have such an experienced partner… Partnership with Tag helps us to develop close cooperation with state authorities through implementing projects in the field of Health and Care, Disaster Management, and more.”
Ms. Nana Tskhondia, GRCS Deputy Director General