SOUTH KOREA, January 25, 2021 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced details on its “SOS Dolbom Service,” or “SOS Caregiving Service,” and how to apply for the service. The service provided through the city-funded Seoul Public Agency for Social Service is designed for senior citizens and the disabled impacted by the protracted pandemic.
Those eligible for the SOS Dolbom Service include senior citizens and the disabled who are currently receiving elderly long-term care benefits and support benefits for the disabled, but the service had been suspended in the midst of COVID-19. For example, those eligible include those in urgent need of the services but whose a family member or a primary caregiver was in self quarantine, and even those who have tested positive for the virus themselves and have to check in to quarantine facilities.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Public Agency for Social Service expanded their SOS Dollbom Service in March last year at the peak of the first wave of the coronavirus, deploying 129 caregivers and support staff for the disabled to offer comprehensive assistance in daily routines, outdoor activities, and health and hygiene management. The city has been steadily increasing the staff involved in this service program.
During a surge of outbreaks at hospices, nursing homes, and residences for the disabled towards the end of last year, the city has expanded its Dolbom Service to step in for their usual caregivers who were unavailable because they were following cohort quarantine guidelines. It also began to offer services for the severely disabled who had to enter specialized hospitals when they tested positive for the virus.
The city offers four types of customized services: ① Authorized house calls to those whose Dolbom services were abruptly suspended ② 24-hour caregivers to act as guardians to accompany those who have to stay at quarantine facilities operated by the Seoul city. ③ Substitute staff at cohort quarantine facilities and ④ Dolbom service for the severely disabled who have tested positive for the virus and have to enter hospitals specific to the patient.
Firstly, those who are receiving elderly long-term care benefits and support benefits for the disabled can request house calls as part of the SOS Dolbom Service if their family member or those who are providing primary care cannot visit them because the caregivers have to stay at home due to self-quarantine measures.
Secondly, the city will offer assistance to senior citizens and the disabled who came into contact with confirmed patients and have to enter quarantine facilities or their residence or living facilities are designated as cohort quarantine facilities, or if they are required to move facilities.
These elderly and disabled patients will be provided with 24-hour caregiver assistance operating on three-person shifts, accompanying them and offering help in their daily routines, including their meals, mobility, and bathing.
Thirdly, the city and the agency will provide substitute staff to help nursing homes and residences for the disabled which are under cohort quarantine. These facilities can apply for assistance from the city when they are short of nursing and caregiving staff because their regular staffs have to stay at home due to quarantine measures.
And finally, the city will offer services to severely disabled patients who have tested positive and have to stay in specialized hospitals and need assistance because they cannot move freely. These hospitals can request the city for help, and the Seoul Social Service Agency can arrange Dolbom caregivers and support nursing staff to those in need.
“The Seoul Public Agency for Social Service was established to provide reliable public caregiving (Dolbom) service,” said Seoul Acting Mayor Seo Jung-hyup, thanking the Agency for “its active role in finding blind-spots caused by the pandemic and stepping in to provide vital assistance to those in need. The Seoul Metropolitan Government will continue to increase staff and provide staunch assistance to the marginalized sectors of the society in dire need of Dolbom services.”