To meet the elderly care needs of the general public with high-quality and professional services, elderly service providers should enhance their skills in a down-to-earth manner.
The first skill is to provide the most needed services, build high-quality elderly service providers and foster professional old-age services. Currently, the semi-self-care, disabled and mentally retarded elderly represent a huge demand in China’s elderly care market. As scarce resources in the market, the cost-effective old-age care organizations that provide professional medical and nursing services and customized elderly services will embrace greater development opportunities.
It is also crucial to integrate medical and nursing resources to build a full-fledged ecosphere of medical and nursing services. Apart from adding hospitals or clinics to elderly care organizations and setting up old-age care beds at medical institutions, the planning and construction of medical-nursing complexes has become the choice of more and more new establishments. In addition, integrating supply chains and establishing a medical-nursing ecosphere also help effectively reduce intermediate costs and improve profit margins.
Another skill is to explore community-based elderly care opportunities and seek to be the first mover in day care and home-based door-to-door service. According to China’s “9073” framework of old-age care development, the share of community-based elderly care will rise from the current 1% to 7%, indicating huge room for market development. Among them, the small “embedded” community nursing stations focused on seniors who are disabled or the mentally retarded are more likely to see a spurt of development.
In addition, it is necessary to improve service efficiency and explore innovations for intelligent old-age services. The new-generation information technologies, including Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data and intelligent hardware, will be used to effectively connect families, communities, service organizations and health and elderly care resources, and improve allocation of resources for higher quality and better performance. Given China’s huge population, the IT-assisted, convenient and intelligent elderly care industry chains will become increasingly active.
The last important skill is to establish a complete closed loop of training, certification, supply and management for nursing professionals. Currently home-based elderly services are mainly provided by domestic workers. The service personnel at elderly service organizations are a mixed bag. There is a huge shortage in certified nursing professionals able to meet the daily care and rehabilitation needs of disabled and elderly people. Against the backdrop of promoting integrated elderly care and medical services, the number of nursing beds and professional nursing organizations will increase rapidly. The training and supply channels for nursing professionals are precedent to the stability of professional service providers.
The elderly care industry, broad-based and long-ranging, directly concerns our country’s stability and our people’s wellbeing. It is more demanding on workers than general industries. Market players should have not only the operational and managerial capability of integrating the industry chains and the ability to deliver meticulous, professional services, but also the fairness to work for the public good, the ingenuity to tap deep into the industry and the kindness to serve the vulnerable groups. Only in this way can we become strong enough to fuel the industry development.