Friday 26 October 2012

Maids can take online course in care-giving

By Amelia Tan, The Straits Times, 25 Oct 2012

MAIDS can now pick up care-giving skills during their free time by taking an online course.

It will also help their employers qualify for a monthly government stipend of $120 to help with the cost of hiring a domestic worker to take care of frail, elderly or disabled family members.

The course, developed by Singapore company BH Institute, has been approved by the Centre for Enabled Living (CEL).

There are two parts. The first is a 20-module programme called Medically Informed Minders, which gives the maids basic knowledge of dealing with the elderly, such as spotting warning signs on health problems.

The modules, which each take 20 minutes to cover, can be worked on at any time using smartphones and computers. They are offered in English, Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia.

The second part of the course involves a series of 13 seminars that cover topics such as preventing falls and tending to wounds. Each seminar is about an hour long, and is in English.

The course costs $200, but it can be offset by applying for a Caregivers Training Grant, administered by the Centre for Enabled Living. A spokesman for the centre said the online course provides an alternative method of learning for caregivers who are Web-savvy and who may not be able to leave the side of the person they are caring for.

The monthly stipend comes from the Foreign Domestic Worker Grant, which is expected to cost $25 million over the next five years. Eventually, more than 6,000 middle- and low-income families are expected to benefit.

To qualify, households must have a monthly income of $2,200 per head or less. The elderly or disabled family member must live with the applicant and be assessed by a doctor as needing help with basic activities such as taking a shower.

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