Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nursing home boom in China has little government involvement

15.03.2011
A nursing home industry is booming in China as a rapid increase in the proportion of its elderly population forces a nationwide shift from traditional family care to institutional care, according to new research by Brown University gerontologists.

The study, led by Zhanlian Feng, assistant professor of community health, and published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, is the first systematic documentation of the growth and operation of nursing homes in Chinese cities.

The demographics driving the trend, however, are better known: Experts with the U.S. Census Bureau project that China's over-65 population will rise from 8.3 percent of the population today to 22.6 percent (or 329 million people) in 2040.

Under a National Institutes of Health grant to co-author Vincent Mor, professor of medical science, Feng and colleagues at Brown, Georgia State, and Nanjing University found that the number of nursing homes in Nanjing grew from only three in 1980 to more than 140 in 2009. In Tianjin, where there are 136 nursing homes, only 11 existed before 1990. More than half of the nursing homes in the capital Beijing opened after 2000.

"Institution-based long-term care has been very rare in the country in the past," said Feng. "Even now it is still rare, but we've seen explosive growth, which is quite a phenomenon in a country where for thousands of years people have relied almost exclusively on the family for old age support."

Little oversight

As homes spring up by the score, Feng said, their operation has been subject to very little of the kind of oversight that Western nations realized decades ago was necessary — often the hard way. Part of the reason is that to this point the government is largely uninvolved in financing the sector's growth spurt.

The government encourages development of long-term care facilities in the private sector, Feng said, but its provision of limited financial subsidies for construction depends on the availability of local resources.

In what has traditionally been a command economy, more than three-fifths of 1,208 nursing homes in seven cities around the country are privately owned, and in Nanjing, more than three-quarters of the homes built in the last decade are private. Across the city, 80 percent of nursing home revenue, on average, comes from private sources. The researchers there also found that patients in privately owned nursing homes tend to be sicker than those in government-owned homes.

Decades ago in the United States, nursing homes were largely unregulated until the public became increasingly horrified by stories of abuse, neglect, and otherwise substandard care, Feng said. After several waves of regulation, most notably passage of the national nursing home reform legislation as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, conditions improved.

"It's quite similar in many ways to what nursing homes were like in this country, back 40 or 50 years ago, before Medicare and Medicaid," Feng said. "In the beginning, regulation was lax. Chinese policymakers can avoid these mistakes. They don't have to repeat them."

As it stood in Nanjing in 2009, however, only 31 percent of nursing homes employed a doctor and only 29 percent employed a nurse. The top administrator had a college education in only four in 10 homes. More than half the staff in the city's homes, on average, are largely untrained rural migrant workers, Feng said.

"The most urgent thing for China is to plan carefully," he said. "When I talk to officials I get the impression that officials know there is a huge challenge and that the aging wave is coming. So they say, 'Let's build more beds first. Quality? Problems? We'll worry about that later.' That worries me."

Targeted interventions

Feng said the best way to meet the population's fast-growing needs, but to meet them safely, is for the government to focus on facilities where problems are most likely to occur. That means gathering more data.

"I would recommend the government mandate the reporting of some basic facility-level information, as we've collected from facilities in Nanjing and Tianjin, on a regular basis," he said. "Then the government will be in a better position to implement targeted interventions such as focusing monitoring efforts on a small number of facilities that house much sicker than average patients yet have much lower than average staffing levels."

In addition to Feng and Mor, other authors on the paper are Brown public health researchers Chang Liu and Mingyue Sun, Georgia State University sociologist Heying Jenny Zhan, and Nanjing University sociologist Xiaotian Feng.

The National Institutes of Health supported the study through the Fogarty International Center.

David Orenstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brown.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>