The Taipei City Government will make an exception for an ill Spanish missionary nun who has been in Taiwan for nearly six decades taking care of leprosy sufferers by granting her long-term care services normally available only to Taiwanese, an official said on Monday.
Government officials had visited Sister Elvira Valentin Martin at her home earlier in the day and concluded that she was “severely disabled” and should be entitled to use the country’s long-term care program, said Wu Hsueh-yu, an official from the city’s Department of Health.
Chiang Chi-wen (江綺雯), commissioner of the city’s Department of Social Welfare, said before the visit that the nun should not be left alone and expressed hope that the government could make her case an exception.
Despite her long stay and permanent-resident status in Taiwan, the 88-year-old Catholic nun is still a Spanish citizen and therefore would not typically qualify for long-term care services, such as home-visit care.
Wu said the bedridden nun would be able to have home visits from therapists and nutritionists within the next 10 days, who would offer her caretakers advice on nursing and rehabilitation, skills and nutrition.
She can also apply for home or institution-based respite care for up to 21 days a year, Wu said, 70 percent of the cost being paid for by the government. The nun was honored by the government for her work in 2005 with the prestigious Medical Contribution Award.