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More old age homes needed

Updated: 2014-11-03 07:54
(China Daily)

The government needs to allocate more funds for elderly care homes and encourage private enterprises to operate them to tackle the increasing aging population problem, says an article on guancha.gmw.cn. Excerpts:

A nurse in an elderly care center in Shenyang, Liaoning province, mixed two sleeping (diazepam) pills in an 86-year-old man's meal so that he could have a good night's sleep because half a pill was proving ineffective. After having the meal, however, the aged man collapsed on the ground, injured himself and had serious respiratory failure.

Diazepam is a prescription medicine. If not taken properly, it can cause respiratory failure. The old age home management should not have left the responsibility of "prescribing and administering" medicines to nurses because they are not qualified to do so and might commit a fatal mistake.

Many media reports have exposed the mistreatment of senior citizens in elderly care centers in China. But blaming and punishing nurses and owners of such care centers will not solve the problem. It can be solved only with adequate number of and more government funds for elderly care centers, and strict nursing rules.

China needs at least 8 million beds in old age homes. Now there are only 2.66 million beds. And because of the lack of funds, some public old age homes use younger senior citizens to look after those more advanced in age. But the government still exercises tight control when it comes to setting up private elderly care homes. This has to change.

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