Renmin University’s China Social Security Research Centre Organises A High-Level Forum on the Aged Care Industry
(2016-10-11 08:10:24)

On the 9th of October, the “Second Session of the Chinese Forum on the Elderly Care Industry” was held in the Great Hall of the People. This event was sponsored by the Association of Chinese Social Security Studies, the Business Development Centre of the Red Cross Society of China and the Union of Beijing Hospitals, with the main theme of the forum being “Integrated Medical Treatment and Caregiving: Theory and Practice.” The Deputy Committee Head of the National People’s Congress (NPC) CHEN Zhu was in attendance as keynote speaker, and there were many other important representatives in attendance such as Vice-Chairman of the 10th CPPCC meeting ZHANG Huaixi, former Jiangxi provincial secretary SHU Huiguo, deputy head member of the NPC’s Domestic Judiciary Committee SU Hui, National Health and Family Planning Commission Deputy Director WANG Pei’an among others. Attending the forum were participants from the National People’s Congress Committee for Internal and Judicial Affairs, the National Health and Family Planning Commission, and the Ministry of Civil Affairs, as well as over thirty academics from colleges, universities, and research organisations around the nation; representatives from local Ministries; leaders from the Red Cross Society; and representatives from aged care institutions around the nation. In total around 700 people attended the forum, and the opening ceremony and forum proper were presided over by the President of the China Social Security Research Centre and Renmin University Professor ZHENG Gongcheng.


Deputy Committee Head CHEN Zhu’s gave an insightful speech where he talked about, how, as a nation, we are accelerating towards being an aging society, but that we have yet to make suitable preparations for this challenge. Further, social security and aged care facilities are inadequate, and there is a particular gap when it comes to the issue of “integrating medical treatment and caregiving,” so we are ill-prepared to meet the challenges presented by an aging society. Integrating medical treatment and caregiving is not only a proactive measure to address the challenge of an aging population, it is also an important task for the development of the aged care and health industries. Furthermore, CHEN said it is an effective way to improve the lives of the elderly to ensure they get adequate care and medical attention. Developing the aged care industry is a matter that not only impacts the flourishing of the economy, but also the happiness of hundreds of millions of families – addressing this issue requires the concerted efforts of all members of society. Expediting the sound development of the elderly care industry has become an important measure for meeting the challenge of an aging population, and also has implications for new job creation and economic development. Ensuring its success has important significance with regards ensuring stable growth, promoting reforms and improving the livelihood of the people.


Another important speech was that of Deputy Director WANG Pei’an who noted that while our country may still be in the period of “demographic dividend” (where fertility rates are low), the effect of an aging population on economic and social development is protracted and gradual. International experience has taught us that long-term nursing and caregiving should be a fundamental public service; in this sense we are in urgent need of improving systems for caregiving and research. Improving the health of a population is a vital force crucial for propelling economic growth. Investing in people’s health and education is not only an investment in social development, it is also an investment in economic development. Realising healthy aging is an important measure to actively address the needs of an aging population; it is the foundation necessary for ensuring the sustainable development of an aging population, and it is an innovative measure for ensuring the continued sound development of economic society. In this, it requires a holistic view of human health, encompassing disease prevention, health management, illness treatment, rehabilitation and “end-of-life care,” which synthesises and systematises all factors related to health treatment. At present development of elderly health work is still in its early stages. For the proactive implementation of sound policy we need scholarly discussion and debate. To cultivate and expand the health industry we must fully utilise market mechanisms. So as to create an “aged-friendly society” by actively encouraging the social participation of the elderly. And we must put into place support systems for families with elderly members so as to strengthen the ability of families to care for their elderly.


Following, Deputy Committee Head SU Hui gave an illuminating speech in which she outlined how the development of the aged care industry was a high priority for the National People’s Congress and the Committee for Internal and Judicial Affairs, exemplified by the important work these bodies are doing toward research and investigations into legal compliance. She indicated that the phenomenon of an aging population is evident throughout the nation; as such, hastening the development of our nation’s aged care service industry is both necessary and important work. Especially pressing is the need to resolve the underdevelopment of integrated medical treatment and caregiving in the realm of aged care. This is demonstrated by the fact that in many places the aged care service infrastructure and community medical treatment and health services are not tightly integrated, and that generally they only offer daytime services. This means that often they are unable to satisfy the service needs of those advanced in aged, or for those who are unable to take care of themselves and need special medical help and nursing. Further, because the supervision mechanisms are not sound, and also because they tend to be profit driven, there can sometimes be problems related to insurance payments for aged care. Another obstacle demonstrating the need for integrating medical treatment and caregiving is that in many cases aged care-related functions are dispersed among different departments such as civil administration, health and family planning, human resources and social security, housing construction in town and country, national territorial resources, and emergency. This is demonstrative of the fact that there is not enough unity in interdepartmental policies and standards, thus making cooperation difficult. She emphasised that the last ten years – especially the period of the thirteenth five year plan – has been an important strategic opportune moment for addressing the issue of an aging population, that we must seize this period of opportunity, increase the sense of urgency, and strengthen our plans; with adequate preparation we will be able to improve aged care institutions, implement research systems on population strategy, draw up birth-rate policies, improve social security systems, improve aged care services, improve personnel training, and encourage social participation. With these proposed measures of resolution, proactively put into practice, we will make great ways toward meeting the profound challenge of an aging population.


Of particular significance to the forum was Professor ZHENG Gongcheng’s speech where, in introducing the key themes of the forum, he made the point that while a continuous increase of average lifespan is generally considered the most significant indicator of a country’s progress of economic development, at the same time an aging society presents a difficult challenge for the government and society of that country. On the back of our nation’s fast progress, there has simultaneously been a fast progression towards an aging population, large in scale, with its effect felt throughout society. In order to address this issue in a comprehensive and erudite manner requires the proactive engagement of government, markets, society and families, so as to move towards constructing a multilevel aged care system that has is founded on the base of aged care at home, and that optimises resource allocation in order to satisfy the needs of the aged care service industry and the aging population. He emphasised, the selection of the topic of this forum “integrated medical treatment and caregiving” was indicative of society meeting the call to address the universal need of elderly people in cities and rural areas for medical and health services. In the closing ceremony, Professor ZHENG Gongcheng expressed gratitude towards the participants for their positive participation in engaging with the topic and their enthusiasm in exchanging ideas. Later, he emphasised the need that all members of society should pay close attention to the needs of the elderly, that social security should be united under a national system, and that aged care services must be suited to local needs. In this, he suggested that researchers, policy makers and aged care service practitioners all must begin with aspirations of respect towards the elderly, and evaluate policy failures and successes based on how well they work to satisfy the needs of elderly people from different social strata and with different needs.


Former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The People’s Daily CHEN Junhong, Director of the Ministry of Civil Affairs Policy Research Centre WANG Jiexiu, Director of the Chinese Red Cross Business Development Centre JIANG Dan, Renmin University of China Professor YANG Lixiong, Central Health Council Expert Consultant QI Haimei and others give their reports on the forum topic. That afternoon, separate discussions were held on the topics of “Aged Care Services Theory and Policy Discussions” and “Discussions on Developing Institutions for Aged Care.”


In the lecture on “Aged Care Services Theory and Policy,” experts gave a penetrating discussion on the forum topic. Expert on the topic of medical safeguards and Committee Head of the Chinese Association of Scholars in Social Security Studies HAN Feng and Committee Vice-President DING Jianding, Central Party School Professor QING Lianbin, Director of Guiyang City Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs CHEN Guoxi, Deputy Director of Suzhou City Municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs ZHENG Lijiang, Board Chair of Beijing “Cuncao Chunhui” Nursing Hospital WANG Xiaolong, Director of Yangzhou “Yaoyang” International Elderly Apartments LI Tong, Director of Guiyang “Huiyang” Aged Care Services Centre LIU Baofeng, Researcher in Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences WANG Zhen and others gave their ideas on this topic, giving enlightening debates on the forum topic.

In the lecture on “Discussions on Developing Institutions for Aged Care,” a discussion was held on how to develop China’s aged care services by representatives of aged care facilities around the nation.

The participants agreed that the trend towards an aging population was serious, and that addressing this issue must be given a higher priority. Although the government has already declared the importance of integrating medical treatment with caregiving, there still needs to be an integrated action scheme that implements individualised and effective medical treatment and caregiving according to the needs of different ages, different health conditions, and with different aged care requirements. The participants gave an incisive analysis on the inadequacies of present policies and gave many useful suggestions for future policy development.

Renmin University of China Assistant Professor in Social Security Research YANG Jun, Assistant Professor QIAO Qingmei, Assistant Professor LU Quan and some of their PhD and Master’s students also attended the forum.



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