HomAge: Home-based Aging for Transformative Community Care

A CB-led community care project has attracted funding of over HK$ 23 million from the Bank of China. "HomAge: Home-based Aging for Transformative Community Care," a strategic collaboration with the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is one of the selected projects for the Bank of China’s Centenary Charity Programme.

Project leader, Dean Frank Chen said, "HomAge has the potential to transform Hong Kong’s community care by providing home nursing through small, self-managed neighbourhood teams supported by an array of innovative technologies."

The HomAge pilot project intends to implement a home-based care programme, based on the Buurtzorg nurse-led model of holistic care that has revolutionised community care around the world. This localisation of the Buurtzorg model will explore a prototype of a sustainable Public-private partnership homecare scheme, and deliver an innovative home-based care workforce. The project will introduce the role of care coordinators and equip them with a case management approach and health coaching qualification.

Further partners include social service organisations, Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council, Hong Kong Christian Service, and Tung Wah Group of Hospitals; medical service provider Queen Elizabeth Hospital; pioneering healthcare organisation Buurtzorg Asia Pacific; and academic partner The Institute of Vocational Education (Shatin). The project aims to transform the ecology of institutional elderly care and centre-based health management by facilitating "aging-in-place" with sufficient quality homecare support, and is set to benefit some 5000 people over a three-year period.

HomAge will feature a range of innovative technologies – an IT platform for service planning and coordination, and a series of portable person-centred devices to support home-based care. The IT solution is based on a framework which allows real-time collaboration between project teams.

The data management team will link the community health profile of project participants with medical service utilisation. The linked dataset aims to develop an evidence-based screening programme to optimise service utilisation across the elderly care continuum, support medical-social service integration, and tackle the institutional challenges of a fast-aging population.

HomAge will feature telemedicine, person-centred technological devices to facilitate home-based care, including real-time video conferencing, and text recognition for vital sign monitoring that match with each individual’s home devices.

The project will also feature a portable fall prevention device developed by CityU’s Department of System Engineering and Engineering Management (SEEM) Department, portable ECG and stroke prevention education, and electronic pillboxes with professional staff supervision and education, aiming to improve medication adherence and facilitate family members monitoring progress.

HomAge will contribute towards community manpower rejuvenation and training, creating new job opportunities for students in the discipline of public health and elderly care. The assessment, which is integral to the project, will provide empirical data for formulating future policy for the implementation of aging-in-place, pointing towards a comprehensive solution for Hong Kong’s aging population.