IPOH, July 21 — Former Hospital Bahagia Tanjung Rambutan matron Fatimah Abdullah decided to set up a home catering to mental health patients after seeing that their families were unable to cope.
Having started out in Manjoi in 2004, the home — Fitrah Nursing Care — now operates from a rented double-storey bungalow house at Housing Trust in Ipoh.
Fatimah said she decided to move to the new location after more families sent their loved ones to her.
“When I first started, I only wanted to take in those from Perak. But now my residents are from all over peninsular Malaysia,” she said.
Speaking to Malay Mail when met at their home recently, Fatimah said it now has 58 residents, between the ages of 20 and 74.
“Most of them are suffering from either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder,” she said.
She added that the majority of the residents had been staying with them since the home opened its doors on April 4, 2004.
“The important thing for mental health patients is to ensure they take their medications on time. Failing which they will relapse and that is when things get dicey,” she added.
Fatimah said they had one family who asked them to take a former patient back after the patient relapsed.
“When we went over to their house, the patient put up a fight to the extent of biting our worker,” she said.
Besides ensuring patients take their medications on time, Fatimah said the home also sent residents to hospitals for their follow-up treatment.
“Patients are sent to hospitals daily,” she added.
Appealing for help
While the home charges a sum to look after the residents, Fatimah said many families have defaulted on their payments.
“We understand no one is spared with the current Covid-19 pandemic but our daily operation still needs to go on.”
Fatimah said the home was looking for someone to donate a van so that it could send residents for their medical appointments.
“At the moment we are dependent on an MPV. Sometimes when there are too many appointments in a day, our workers have to use their own cars to send them.”
“Due to the SOP in place for Covid-19, the MPV can only take five residents at one time.”
“Hence we are hoping someone can donate a 12-seater van so we can reduce the number of trips. It need not be a new van.”
Fatimah also hopes someone can donate a tent that will be placed in the garden area.
“This is because we have religious talks every Sunday and again because of the Covid-19 SOP, there has to be physical distancing among residents,” she said.
Currently, residents are put at the porch area during the talk.
Those who can help the home can contact Fazly Asraf at 017-5447708.
Fitrah Nursing Care is located at No 9, Lengkok Batu Bungkal, Housing Trust, Ipoh.