Grassroots health centers step up in granting better elderly lives

Updated: Jan 4, 2024 Xinhua Print
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BEIJING -- With respiratory diseases on the high in China during winter, how to make it more convenient for the more vulnerable elderly to receive treatment was a key issue for primary-level communities to address.

Thanks to the efforts from both state authorities and localities, it was no longer a major concern for the public.

At a community health center in Shanghai's Huangpu District, despite it being late at night, general practitioners, traditional Chinese medicine doctors, recovery and rehabilitation services as well as nursing services were still available to the elderly as part of the night clinic.

"We are trying to enable more elderly people to receive sound treatment at their doorsteps, to continue to enhance their sense of gain," said an official with the local health administration, adding that efforts were also underway to curb respiratory diseases at elderly care institutions.

Data from the National Health Commission (NHC) showed that in the first half of 2023, the country's basic health services benefited 89.88 million elderly people aged 65 and above, a 40-percent year-on-year rise.

Digital elderly care services are also playing a bigger part, as the QR code for medical insurance is now available to 130 million people aged above 60 who have already activated it.

At Yanda Golden Age Health Nursing Center in Yanjiao, north China's Hebei Province, which neighbors Beijing, over 5,000 elderly people have access to smart moving facilities that make using toilet and taking a bath much easier.

One of the pilot units for the coordinated development of elderly care across the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the center enjoys subsidies from Beijing for elderly care facilities, and the nearby Yanda Hospital allows patients to use both Beijing's and Hebei's medical insurance systems.

According to Lu Changlin, a former head of the hospital, it is committed to combining medical care and nursing to explore a new mode of elderly care services in China, in a bid to help more elderly people enjoy the rest of their lives.

For that purpose, the first state-level standard on home nursing for the elderly was released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs in October 2023 to further standardize, normalize and professionalize at-home elderly care services.

"A positive view on the elderly should be upheld to facilitate a healthy approach to aging, and carve out a path to respond to population aging with Chinese characteristics," said Wang Haidong, head of the elderly health department of the NHC.

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