More efforts for the aging population

This article was published by Shanghai Daily on Nov 26, 2015

By Feng Jianmin

CHINA need to offer more financial incentives to private investors and community clinics to improve elder-care efficiency and saving medical resources, PricewaterhouseCoopers said yesterday.

It is a must for China to break down the barriers between informal residential care and hospital services to cope with a gap between increasing demand for elder care and people’s preference for staying at home, the firm said in a report titled Connected and coordinated: Personalized service delivery for the elderly.

Seniors below the age of 70 still tend to stay at home and prefer to receive care at home, the report said from a survey of more than 600 respondents in China.

“Currently, approaches to elderly care focus predominantly on disease treatment from medical professional, located at the acute end of care,” said Mark Gilbraith, PwC China health and life sciences leader. “Shifting dynamics such as in demographics and urban migration render this current approach economically unsustainable.”

The report said China is to have more than 12 percent of its population aged 65 or over by 2020, and additional annual consumption resulted from the aging population will increase 17 percent between 2016 to 2020.

The State Council last week released a document to encourage medical institutions to offer elderly care services, but preferential policies in land use, tax, payment system, and risk sharing are needed to be in place to realize the goal, said Simon Sun, PwC China strategy consulting partner of healthcare.