Funds sought for spinal patients

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 November, 2009, 12:00am

Families of SMA Charitable Trust, an organisation that supports those who suffer spinal muscular atrophy, hopes to get funding from Operation Santa Claus to run its home-based rehabilitation programme

The trust is seeking about HK$564,000 to employ an occupational therapist, speech therapist and physiotherapist to visit patients at home.

Some of the money will be used to buy life-support equipment, such as ventilators and oximeters, - SMA patients need.

'SMA patients require a lot of medical attention,' said Carmen Yau Ka-man, marketing and project manager of the trust.

'Many of them can never go home. They have to stay in hospital all the time to get treatment.

'But if therapists went to their homes and they had the equipment they needed, they might get better and be able to go to school and lead a better life.'

SMA patients become tired easily and need someone to help them get around.

They also need physiotherapists to help them exercise. If they do not get enough exercise, their muscles will deteriorate at an even quicker rate.

Occupational therapists can help patients set up equipment at home to make life easier for them.

They can also give family members guidelines on taking care of the patients.

Meanwhile, speech therapists can help patients exercise their throat muscles to prevent choking.

At present, the trust takes care of about 100 families.

It hopes to help up to 10 more families with funding from Operation Santa Claus.