East China city to pilot new care services for elderly

17:35, April 08, 2010      

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Nurses at more than 30 hospitals in the east China city of Qingdao are extending their responsibilities -- into patient care.

Traditionally China's nurses have confined themselves to medical services, but health authorities in Qingdao city will pilot a new patient care project from May 2010 to March 2011.

As part of the city's efforts to relieve the increasing social burdens brought about by an aging population, nurses will be helping patients with three meals a day, the medicines and exercise, said Meng Xianzhou, deputy director of the city's Health Bureau.

The tasks were previously assigned to family, usually the offspring, but many people were too busy to look after elderly relatives on a full-time basis, said Meng.

"It is especially meaningful to the only child of many families since China adopted its one-child policy in the late 1970s," Meng said.

"The project shows improvement of our overall medical services, and I believe it is a must when China is an aging society."

Qingdao was the first city to pilot the project partly because of its fast growing aging population, Meng said.

According to Qingdao's committee of aging, the city's population over the age of 60 is 1.318 million, accounting for 17.29 percent of the city's total, and the rate is rising.

China has been an aging society since 1999. The population over 60 reached 160 million at the end of 2009. The figure is expected to hit 300 million by 2020, accounting for 16.7 percent of the population.

Source: Xinhua


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