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People's Daily Online>>China Society

China's nursing homes falling behind


15:45, January 18, 2012

BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Decorated with colorful plastic flowers, red lanterns and artificial dragons, a nursing home in downtown Beijing held a party on Monday for its residents to celebrate the coming Lunar Year of Dragon, which begins on Jan. 23.

The nursing home's 220 current residents have been fortunate to enjoy such festivities, as applications for admission have been flooding into the nursing home.

"Many people have been on our waiting list for more than a year. One of them passed away while waiting," said Li Shuyun, an employee of the Beijing Niujie Street Ethnic Nursing Home, which opened in 2008.

For Li and many other elderly care providers in an aging China, the problem is a simple one, but still difficult to solve - there are simply not enough nurses or beds to accomodate the country's elderly population.

"You cannot ignore the situation. The aging population is growing so fast that the country needs to figure out how to take care of the elderly," said Yin Zhigang, a professor from the Beijing Institute of Population Research.


China's family planning policies, implemented in 1979, have reduced the country's population growth rate considerably, dropping from 2.75 percent in the 1960s to just 0.57 percent in 2010, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

However, while proving effective in population control, the policy also resulted in an aging country, with 178 million people over the age of 60 by the end of 2010, accounting for 13.26 percent of the total population, according to an NBS census.

The country's elderly largely see nursing homes as an ideal place to spend their old age, as they are allowed to pursue their own interests while relieving their children of the burden of supporting them.

"I used to stay with one of my four sons, but I felt lonely when they were busy with work. I then chose to come here, despite my sons' objections," said Lv Shengzhu, 76, a former middle school teacher.

"I've learned embroidery here and even have my own pieces that I'm working on. I feel much happier now," Lv said.

Zhang Shulin, 76, who worked in a pharmaceutical factory before retiring, said she hasn't had to cook since moving to the nursing home. "Every meal here is fresh and I don't have to eat leftovers from my previous meal," she said.

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James at 2012-01-1894.194.203.*
It seems to be that a lack of resources is a common cause for concern for nursing homes all over the world and the nurses are struggling to carry out their roles as efficiently as they would like. However, the use of technology in care homes and hospitals such as nurse call systems is helping nurses to carry out their day to day responsibilities a good deal more efficiently which will, in turn, improve the quality of patient care as a whole.

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