Social capital to go to nursing homes

Updated: 2015-08-20 07:42

By Xu Wei(China Daily)

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Social capital is to become the driving force for the development of nursing homes, a civil affairs official said on Wednesday.

The move comes as the number of beds provided by nursing homes in the second quarter reached a record 5.89 million in the second quarter, compared to 5.5 million at the end of last year.

The figures were announced by Chen Rifa, spokesman for the Ministry of Civil Affairs, at a news conference.

"We will further implement measures to encourage social capital into the nursing home sector, and make social capital a primary force in driving the development of nursing homes," he said.

In sociology, social capital refers to expected collective or economic benefits derived from the preferential treatment and cooperation between individuals and groups.

China had more than 88,000 registered nursing homes or facilities in the second quarter, including about 18,000 nursing homes or facilities at the community level, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the country has set up a subsidy system to help elderly people with living difficulties in 23 provincial areas, while 19 provincial areas have established systems to provide subsidies to people who are 80 and older.

The ministry said that authorities in four provincial areas have set up systems to provide subsidies for nursing care services to elderly people with disabilities.

However, huge challenges remain in attracting more private and foreign capital to the nursing home sector. According to the research center, less than 20 percent of China's nursing homes are profitable.

Chen said the ministry will speed up the drafting of service standards for the nursing home sector to improve services. It will also launch a special campaign to check fire safety at nursing homes to reduce accidents.