Updated report: The COVID-19 Long-Term Care situation in Malaysia

Kejal Hasmuk, Hakimah Sallehuddin, Maw Pin Tan, Wee Kooi Cheah, Rahimah Ibrahim, Sen Tyng Chai

Key findings:

  • Malaysia has ten (10) federal-funded old folks’ homes and two (2) homes for the chronically ill in Peninsular Malaysia, five (5) state-funded old folks’ homes in East Malaysia, and a number of Islamic care homes operated and/or supported by State religious authorities.
  • There are about 320 residential aged care facilities registered under the Department of Social Welfare (Act 506) and 26 nursing homes registered under the Ministry of Health (Act 586). The number of unregistered facilities numbers from 700 to over 1000, depending on estimation method and definition used.
  • Community and home-based long-term care are currently unregulated in Malaysia.
  • Department of Social Welfare and Ministry of Health officials work closely with academics, care home representatives and civil society groups to reach out to aged care providers.
  • Malaysia has adopted a mass-testing strategy for all registered and unregistered care homes. As of 25 of May, testing involving 10,890 staff and residents from 267 facilities, of whom 9,122 (83.8%) were tested, yielded a positivity rate of 0.2%. A majority of those tested positive were asymptomatic (85.7%).
  • Previously, two older persons clusters have been reported (and closed) which involved at least two aged care premises in Klang and Petaling Jaya, resulting in 36 infection and five (5) deaths.
  • Care homes lack basic PPE and have difficulty observing physical distancing within their confined spaces.
  • The industry body proposed a ‘No visitors’ policy and care homes are discouraged from admitting any new residents
  • Care home residents with suspected COVID-19 will be admitted to COVID hospitals, with all other residents admitted for isolation and testing if necessary. 
  • The Ministry of Health have also recently mandated that older persons to be discharged to an aged care facility to be tested for COVID-19.

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