Stroke Community Rehabilitation Centre (SCORE) is a community engagement initiative (CEI) that was launched in 2016 in Kuala Lumpur. It is a project aimed to transform and scale up an “ailing” existing community centre through knowledge transfer from academia to non-academia.
SCORE was previously known as Pusat Pemulihan Strok; which was a charity-based centre run by Pertubuhan Kebajikan Islam Malaysia (PERKIM) to help stroke survivors in poor neighbourhood. However over the years, the centre was not able to deliver an effective and sustainable programme due to lack of trained manpower and old equipment. The failure of the programme proves that it is not sustainable to have facilities without the right formula.
We now know that it is not feasible to run a community-based rehabilitation programme on a charity model. A lifelong sustainable learning is required for the delivery of an effective programme. Through the community engagement grant received from University of Malaya (UM), a community engagement initiative was undertaken between experts from Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, UM and PERKIM as organisation partner.
The existing centre was transformed through an expert planning where a few major changes were performed; for example, rebranding the name from Pusat Pemulihan Strok to SCORE, upgrading the facilities, recruiting and training of new staff and designing a more customer friendly programme. As of today, SCORE is running effectively and successfully with the rehabilitation programme being guided by the experts from UM, together with PERKIM and community members.
This SCORE project shows a more sustainable model illustrating CEI compared to the initial charity-based model. It has successfully transformed the social wellbeing of stroke survivors, families, care givers and society at large. The programme also helps in promoting healthy lifestyle. The impact can be measured by the improvement in physical and functional aspect of stroke survivors, community satisfaction as well as the increased number of attendees at the centre. A more creative approach was undertaken to run SCORE to ensure livelihood and sustainability.
SCORE can potentially be income generating for the organisation partner in the long run. Since PERKIM is a non-profit organisation, the profit is used to sustain the programme for the general wellbeing. SCORE is now envisioned to be a model for successful stroke community rehabilitation centre in Malaysia. Hence it is our intention together with PERKIM, to set up SCORE in other selected communities in different states in Malaysia, especially in area where access to medical rehabilitation is challenging and not sufficient. Kelantan is chosen as first location outside the Klang Valley for a community-based rehabilitation service after stroke as the number of stroke admitted to the hospitals in Kota Bharu last year is almost as high as the number of stroke survivors in large cities such as in Penang and Johor Bahru.
However, due to the different in culture and socioeconomic background as compared to people living in Klang Valley, we hope to initiate this project with a slightly different approach. The understanding of people’s perception and targeting the real world problem faced by the people in the community is the first step in introducing the rehabilitation service. The close-knit family unit is an advantage for a successful knowledge transfer and lifelong learning approach where the family members are available to ensure transfer of care.
By Mr. Lee Chang Wei
For Research Cluster Coordinator Office, University of Malaya