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January 27, 2015

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Health care plan for elderly ‘long overdue’

SHANGHAI should develop a citywide strategy to manage the long-term care of its senior citizens as too many of them are becoming bed-blockers at top hospitals, a local doctor said yesterday.

At Zhongshan Hospital in Xuhui District, there are currently 32 elderly people “living” in the emergency department who shouldn’t be, department head Dr Li Feng said.

Most have been there for more than 100 days, and one has been in residence for seven years, he said.

“Their families tell us that there are no long-term care beds or support services available in their areas,” he said, adding that more than half of the residents are over 80.

“The ER has become a long-stay ward for seniors with chronic diseases such as pneumonia and Alzheimer’s,” he said.

Government departments at all levels should work together to develop a scheme to manage the situation, Li said.

“There should be more rehabilitation facilities and more beds in small hospitals for senior citizens. There also needs to be a lot more investment in long-term and community care,” Li said.

“It’s not right that top hospitals are left to struggle with the problem alone.”

Ding Qiang, president of Huashan Hospital and a local legislator, agreed.

“Patients with chronic diseases should be transferred to second-tier facilities to free up space in the emergency rooms of leading hospitals,” he told Shanghai Daily on the sidelines of the Shanghai People’s Congress yesterday.

“If there are no beds at secondary hospitals, then patients should go to community hospitals,” he said.

Doctors and other specialists from the larger hospitals can then travel to see the patients as and when required, Ding said.

Huashan Hospital was among the first in the city to develop a cooperation deal — with Jing’an District Central Hospital and several community facilities — on the transfer of patients, he said.

The public should also help reduce the burden on top-level hospitals by not going to them unless they really need to, he said.

“We get about 4 million visitors a year, about half of whom needn’t have come to see us. People with colds and other common ailments should go to their community hospital instead,” he said.


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