HKU medical students to participate in community visits to encourage eHealth literacy improvement of the elderly
HONG KONG, March 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- e-Health Literacy is closely related to the health and well-being of the elderly. Sino Group and the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, in collaboration with the School of Nursing, LKS Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong ("HKUMed"), and charitable organisations and NGOs, launched the 'Generations Connect' project ("The Project") to connect young people and the elderly through community intervention and behavioural coaching. Integrating the concept of e-Health Literacy, with an emphasis on preventive care and self-care management, the Project aims to help the elderly keep abreast of practical e-health tools to improve health. A recent pilot study showed that nearly 70% of the elderly have a low level of e-Health Literacy, and their family happiness index is also relatively low.
Group photo of guests who exchanged ideas with representatives from 11 charitable organisations and NGOs, HKU students and the elderly at the ‘Generations Connect’ sharing session
The 'Generations Connect' project launched a pilot scheme in November last year, arranging workshops for HKUMed nursing students to enhance their skills for better communication with the elderly. They visited over 100 elderly people and conducted surveys and assessments of their physical and mental health. This shows our care for the elderly, while the data will be analysed to understand the elderly's mobile phone use behaviours and eHealth Literacy levels, as preliminary reference for the Project. The two-year 'Generations Connect' project was officially launched earlier this year, expanding beyond nursing students to include students of the School of Chinese Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, and School of Public Health as ambassadors of the Project. Over 1,000 healthcare professional students are expected to participate, providing services to 10,000 elderly people and assisting them in adapting to post-pandemic life and taking care of their physical, psychological, and mental health and wellbeing.
Mr Chris Sun, JP, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Professor Sophia Chan, GBS, JP, Professor of the School of Nursing of HKUMed, Mr Daryl Ng, SBS, JP, Deputy Chairman of Sino Group and Director of the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, and Ms Nikki Ng, Group General Manager of Sino Group and Director of the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation officiated the 'Generations Connect' sharing session today. Also present at the session were the advisors Dr Lam Ching Choi, SBS, JP, Member of Executive Council of Hong Kong, and Dr Leong Che-hung, GBM, GBS, OBE, JP, who exchanged ideas with representatives from 11 charitable organisations and NGOs, HKU students, and the elderly. The research results of the pilot scheme were also announced during the sharing session.
Mr Chris Sun, JP, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, said: " Ageing in Place is an important working direction of the Elderly Commission in its blueprint. At present, one-fifth of the local population in Hong Kong is elderly, and there will be one elderly for every four people in the future. Especially in the digital age, teaching the elderly to use smartphones to improve their health is of great importance. This project, supported by Sino Group, closely follows the theme that the government is keen to promote and mobilise young students to care for the elderly and achieve inter-generational integration. Secondly, the project leverages the students' familiarity with technology, not only teaching the elderly to use technology, but also combining offline services such as visitations to establish a relationship with the elderly. Thank you for Sino Group's HK$10 million funding to this project; it has inspired 1,000 students to help 10,000 elderly. I look forward to the project's success and the plan's expansion in the future to continue contributing to the cause of elderly care."
Professor Sophia Chan, GBS, JP, Professor of the School of Nursing of HKUMed and Project Director, said, 'It is our honour to have the support of Sino Group and the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation to provide the school with an opportunity to work with 11 local charitable organisations and NGOs on providing evidence-based health interventions to the elderly. We observed that the elderly with high level of e-Health Literacy have better physical, psychosocial and mental wellbeing. As the elderly population grows, social and medical care demand increases. The pilot study found that among the 70% of elderly persons who completed the two-week follow-up, the rate of low e-Health Literacy dropped from 66% to 56%, providing initial evidence that the intervention by nursing students is useful in strengthening their e-Health Literacy. In addition, the Project received very positive feedback from the students, who demonstrated a higher level of affective empathy, intellectual empathy and self-efficacy after participation. Nearly 90% of them believe that this experience helped them improve their communication skills with the elderly, become better listeners, and gain better knowledge in health and care for the elderly.
Mr Daryl Ng, SBS, JP, Deputy Chairman of Sino Group and Director of the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, said, 'We are delighted to work with like-minded community partners on programmes focused on improving the wellbeing of the elderly. I am thankful for the collaboration with The School of Nursing at HKUMed and 11 community partners to launch this meaningful programme and connect young people with the elderly in need. Through this programme, healthcare students provide compassionate care to the elderly with love and professional knowledge, while also facilitating the transfer of wisdom from the elderly to the younger generation and strengthening communication across different generations."
Ms Nikki Ng, Group General Manager of Sino Group and Director of the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation, said, 'In recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, elderly people have had to stay mostly at home and have been prone to emotional challenges. I am delighted to see this Project effectively assisting the elderly in adapting to post-pandemic life, learning to access pertinent information from the internet, enhancing their emotional resilience, and fostering a positive and energetic lifestyle. It is very encouraging to see caring and enthusiastic young people getting involved in practical training and willing to learn the skills needed to help the elderly, expressing respect, love and care for them.'
According to the survey conducted during the 'Generations Connect' pilot scheme, 89% of the 104 elderly respondents with an average age of 80 own smartphones; however, the e-Health Literacy of 69% of the respondents was lower than the ideal. 61% of the elderly spend less than an hour a day on their phones, using them mainly for contacting family members and watching videos. Only 31% used their phones to search for health-related information online. Compared with elderly people with higher e-Health Literacy scores, the preliminary research data of the pilot study shows that those with lower scores had poor mental health conditions (9% vs 16%) and felt lonely (15% vs 21%). On a scale of 0 to 10, those with low e-Health Literacy also had lower family happiness (7.4 vs 8.0) and family communication quality (7.5 vs 7.9). Although there is no statistically significant difference in the analysis at this stage, the initial findings reflect that improving the e-Health Literacy of the elderly could help improve their wellbeing.
Participating charitable organisations and NGOs in this Project include Aberdeen Kai-fong Welfare Association Social Service, Christian Family Service Centre, Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service – Hong Kong, Haven of Hope Christian Service, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council Limited, Hong Kong Young Women's Christian Association, Methodist Centre, The Hong Kong Society for the Aged, The Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society – Kowloon, The Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council, and United Christian Nethersole Community Health Service.
Source: Sino Group