Shang­hai nurs­ing homes fall­ing short, ex­perts say

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHOU WENT­ING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Pol­icy ad­vis­ers have urged Shang­hai to tackle the dis­par­ity in the avail­abil­ity of nurs­ing homes in down­town and sub­ur­ban ar­eas.

Shang­hai has 105,000 va­cant beds, yet more than a third are in care cen­ters on the city’s out­skirts, ac­cord­ing to the city’s civil af­fairs bureau.

Shen Guom­ing, a mem­ber of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of Shang­hai Peo­ple’s Congress, said that many el­derly peo­ple are un­will­ing to stay in th­ese ar­eas due to the in­con­ve­nient lo­ca­tions and in­ad­e­quate sup­port fa­cil­i­ties, such as med­i­cal clin­ics.

Shen, who is also vice-chair­man of the Shang­hai So­cial Sciences As­so­ci­a­tion, made the com­ments dur­ing a sem­i­nar on draft reg­u­la­tions for the ser­vice and man­age­ment of nurs­ing homes.

“We should urge ev­ery dis­trict to al­lo­cate ad­e­quate land re­sources for el­derly care homes through leg­is­la­tion,” he said. “The gov­ern­ment should pri­or­i­tize serv­ing the peo­ple, es­pe­cially in so­cial sec­tors where there is a dis­par­ity be­tween sup­ply and de­mand.”

Wu Han­min, vice-chair­woman of the com­mit­tee, added: “Gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­bil­ity, in­clud­ing strength­en­ing and op­ti­miz­ing pub­lic ser­vices, was a key topic dur­ing the Third Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 18th Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, and sup­port­ing the el­derly is an im­por­tant way to show that re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Shang­hai is pre­dicted to have 4.3 mil­lion per­ma­nent res­i­dents aged over 60 in 2015, mak­ing up 30 per­cent of the city’s pop­u­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to the city’s civil af­fairs bureau.

“Land re­sources in Hong Kong are lim­ited, but when I was in down­town Hong Kong in April, I found three nurs­ing homes near the ho­tel I was stay­ing at,” Shen said. “The gov­ern­ment can solve the prob­lem as long as it’s de­ter­mined to do so.”

How­ever, land alone can­not solve the headache, said Wu Fan, stand­ing com­mit­tee mem­ber and di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Center for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion.

“One ob­vi­ous con­tra­dic­tion is the need for me­dial treat­ment in nurs­ing homes and the lack of doc­tors and nurses, who un­der­stand­ably don’t want to work in sub­ur­ban ar­eas, where there is lit­tle ca­reer de­vel­op­ment,” she said.

One way to solve the prob­lem, she sug­gested, is to em­ploy trained at­ten­dants to pro­vide daily med­i­cal care, such as mak­ing up pre­scrip­tions and giv­ing in­jec­tions, and in­vite doc­tors from nearby hos­pi­tals to take turns at work­ing in care homes.

The draft reg­u­la­tions also state that more pri­vate nurs­ing homes will be es­tab­lished, as ones set up with gov­ern­ment fund­ing can­not meet de­mand.

“Out of the 650 nurs­ing homes in Shang­hai, 350 were set up with pri­vate in­vest­ment, and they’ll make up a larger pro­por­tion in the fu­ture,” said Shen Zhix­ian, di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai stand­ing com­mit­tee’s in­ter­nal and ju­di­cial af­fairs com­mit­tee.

As an in­cen­tive to at­tract in­vest­ment from the pub­lic, the nurs­ing homes will be el­i­gi­ble for priv­i­leges in tax­a­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tive and op­er­at­ing charges.

The re­quire­ment for the num­ber of beds in a nurs­ing home has been brought down from 50 to 10 in the Law on Pro­tec­tion of the Rights and In­ter­ests of the El­derly, which came into ef­fect on July 1, a de­vel­op­ment ex­perts say will en­cour­age more small and fam­ily ori­ented nurs­ing homes.

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