Shanghai improves eldercare

Updated: Oct 26, 2023 China Daily Print
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Medical center to serve city's growing need for healthcare for aging residents

The Shanghai Geriatrics Medical Center, operated by Shanghai Zhongshan Hospital affiliated to Fudan University, opened on Sunday on the eve of the Chongyang Festival, or Double Ninth Festival, which is associated with the auspicious meaning of living a long and healthy life.

Situated in Meilong town, Minhang district, the center is a top-level comprehensive hospital with 1,000 beds and the aim of providing the elderly with comprehensive diagnosis and treatment.

More than 120,000 outpatient visits have been made since the center's trial opening on April 24, with a daily average of 1,500 outpatient visits since October.

Shanghai is one of the cities with a higher proportion of elderly residents in China, but it also has one of the highest life expectancies at 84.1. As of the end of last year, the number of people aged 60 or above in the city was over 5.5 million, accounting for 36.8 percent of the population, according to official statistics. The number of people aged 80 and over was 831,500, meaning the need for healthcare services and senior care is a growing concern.

The medical center is a proactive measure by the Shanghai government to address the increasing needs of its aging population, according to the hospital.

The center's outpatient consultation section defies the traditional division of medicine and surgery. Instead, it focuses on comprehensive diagnosis and treatment services that unite healthcare professionals from various fields dispatched by Zhongshan Hospital to determine patients' treatment plans.

"We endeavor to build an intelligent healthcare environment to provide advanced medical services specially catered to the needs of the elderly," said Gu Jianying, Party secretary of Zhongshan Hospital.

The integration of humanistic medical care and the promotion of innovative medical service models will be facilitated by modern technologies, Gu added.

The center has 33 departments, including 23 specialty clinics, and nearly 80 specialists are on hand for outpatient services.

China's State Council published a plan to improve the country's elderly care services system during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period in February last year. The plan outlines major objectives and tasks, including improving the elderly care service system and health support system, and better allocating elderly care service resources by 2025.

Data from the National Health Commission showed that by the end of 2020, there was one national geriatrics center and six national geriatric clinical medical research centers in China. The average life expectancy in China was 77.9 last year.

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