The story appears on

Page A15

January 1, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature

Elders' homes to get star ratings

SHANGHAI is aging rapidly and caring for seniors is a major challenge. The Pudong New Area is in the forefront of elder-care efforts and plans to implement a star-rating system for facilities. Wing Tan reports.

A star rating system is expected to gradually go into effect for the Pudong New Area's 150 nursing and residential facilities that currently are home to more than 12,000 senior citizens.

The district's Department of Social Welfare of the Civil Affairs Bureau is testing the feasibility of rating facilities with three, four and five stars. Those that do not meet standards will be unrated.

There are prospective three-star facilities, but none qualifies for four or five stars at this time, officials say.

The rating system will be Shanghai's first, according to Pudong officials. A pilot group of eight homes has been selected for one-year assessment that can lead to the rating. There will be inspections, tests and interviews with staff, clients and outside experts. If the facilities maintain their standards until December, stars will be awarded.

The eight prospective three-star homes include Gaohang Social Welfare House in Gaohang Town, Jichang No. 2 Elders' Home near the Pudong International Airport, Nanmatou Community Nursing House and Guangming Home for the Aged in Zhuqiao Town.

"These institutions need to receive a one-year assessment and inspection. Only if they meet every standard after one year, will they be awarded a rating certificate and star-rating plate," says Xie Jing, director of the Pudong Association for Senior Welfare. He helped draft the rating standards.

"It is the quality, not the scale, that determines if an elders' home can be rated," Xie says. "We focus more on the service and the management than just a nursing home's hardware."

The draft standard for three-star facilities includes both hardware and software. Facilities will be rated for overall environment, green space, facilities, service, team management and other elements.

A three-star facility should provide adequate green space so elders can exercise in the morning; offer tasty and nutritious meals tailored by nutritionists to individual requirements; provide professional therapists for physical and mental exercise or rehabilitation activities in the afternoon. At night, security should be assured and nurses must be on duty.

The design must be barrier-free, safe and include fire safety infrastructure features. Plans for emergencies must be drawn up and publicized among staff and residents.

"A nursing facilities that applies for rating must meet all the requirements. Failure to meet any single standard disqualifies the facility for rating," the director says. Subsequent to receiving a rating, a facility will be regularly monitored.

Though the three-star standards have been released, the four- and five-star standards will be released later though they have already been drafted, he says.

"They require more and the standards are much higher, so no facility in Pudong New Area can meet them at this time," Xie says.

The first five star-rated elders' facility is likely to be rated within the next five years, Xie says.

As a pioneer of the city's aging industry, Pudong has few successful examples to follow in terms of ratings. The director notes that Beijing launched a similar system several years ago, but it was not successful, according to Xie.

"A star-rated elders' home should be able to provide specific, tailor-made service in nursing, rehabilitation and psychological comfort for every old person," Xie says. "Few facilities can do that as this time."

Xie acknowledges that a one-year assessment period may not be long enough, but says that it is a first attempt and the district will work hard to improve the rating. "We are learning and progressing. And we are still looking for a mode that is suitable for Pudong."

Statistics from the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau show that by 2030, the city will have 5 to 6 million residents older than 60 years, almost 30 percent of the total population; the elderly (over 60) population will increase by 140,000 every year from 2011 to 2020, compared with an average increase of 75,000 per year during the past five years.

As these statistics become serious realities, the question is how the city will care for and house its aging population.

For the past few years the Pudong New Area has been developing various kinds of elder care, including nursing homes with medical facilities, retirement villages, neighborhood care service houses, high-end retirement communities, both private and government-sponsored.

Last May, the Elder People Care Service House opened in Weifang Community, catering for old people who live alone. It provides company, safety in numbers, better home-care service and some extra income.

This arrangement was a totally new concept for the city's aged care industry. The service house matches two to three elderly people who are living alone in the same complex. They move together into one of the apartments, while leasing the other to others.

"This service is for older people living alone, whether they have children or not," says the program's initiator, Yang Lei, a 24-year-old woman who was inspired by her part-time job as a care giver during her studies in the United Kingdom.

She says the center will complement the current types of care offered and the model is feasible in a big city like Shanghai.

In 2008, Cherish-Yearn Community, promoted as China's first high-end retirement community, was opened in the Kangqiao area. It started as a membership community but now it is selling flats - to the elderly only.

The 8.3-square-kilometer community in suburban Kangqiao contains 16 buildings. Twelve of them contain 800 apartments. There's also a wellness center, hospital, dining hall, recreational areas, tea houses, green space and streams. It offers short-term accommodation for residents' families.

It provides activities from painting to piano, chorus, theater and martial arts. Today it has more than 200 elder residents.

Apartments are divided into small (60sqm), medium (80sqm) and large (120sqm).

The design is elder friendly; public spaces have railings; elevators can accommodate wheelchairs and stretchers; floors have anti-slip surfaces; bathrooms have handles and railings for support; buildings are connected by covered corridors.

"The life-care program allows residents to move in independently and enjoy a resort lifestyle, while being assured that should their health needs ever change, they are guaranteed care to meet their highest level of independence," says Jin Chizhe, the company's sales and marketing manager.

"This kind of community is still new in the country, but we believe it will be a supplement and a solution to the city's aging problem," Jin says.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend