Two thousand staffers from nursing homes for seniors in Shanghai began training at Shanghai Open University on Thursday in an attempt to become the first batch of certified appraisers who will evaluate senior citizens’ health condition and the level of care they need at nursing homes.
The training program was launched by the university and the Shanghai Senior Service Industry Association two days before the city’s first elderly-care services ordinance takes effect.
The ordinance requires all nursing homes to set up schemes to evaluate seniors’ health conditions when they arrive and make adjustments based on senior residents’ physical and mental changes.
According to Wang Songhua, executive vice director of the university’s non-academic education department, the city has more than 700 nursing homes with about 150,000 beds. The evaluation of seniors’ health conditions and need for care services is only done by nursing home staff, who lack unified training and sometimes make wrong prognosis.
“It’s important to make proper assessment of senior people’s health conditions and work out individualized care plans accordingly,” said an official surnamed Chen with the city’s social welfare center.
“If the assessment results make light of the real conditions, the senior citizen may lack enough care and face risks. For example, if a senior resident has swallowing issues and needs to live on a liquid diet. But if the assessment fails to uncover the dysfunction, the resident could be given the wrong food and get choked.
“And if the assessment report is more severe than the real situation, the senior resident will be put in the wrong premises and given unnecessary care, which is a waste of limited resources and will also make him or her uncomfortable.”
The training is expected to help improve the accuracy of such assessments and the industry’s service quality in Shanghai.
According to Chen, a digital system is now being trialled at four major nursing homes with standard assessments on senior citizens’ health conditions by asking questions and observing 35 indexes, ranging from independent living and recognition abilities to emotions and sleeping condition.
The seniors’ conditions will be rated at five levels, and according to the results, the system will accordingly give suggestions on care service plans for them.
If the relatives of seniors do not agree with the assessment results, they can also apply for recheck, which will be conducted by an appraiser from a third-party organization.
The program at Shanghai Open University will train staffers, who are from 500 nursing homes in the city, on assessment criteria, operation of the digital assessment system, practical operation in the assessment and basic knowledge about senior citizens’ physical and mental health.
The training will last until the end of August. At the end of the training, they will be tested in simulation scenarios and given certificates if they pass the tests.
After the training, the system will also be expanded to the trainees’ nursing homes.
Their real work performance will be monitored after the training.
“Together with the industry association, we will check their assessment reports randomly and those who make mistakes will be punished, retrained, have their certificates revoked or even be banned from the industry for life in serious cases,” the university’s Wang said.
Besides training for appraisers, the city’s social welfare center will launch another program with the university to train 320 high-end caregivers to improve service quality, according to Xu Qihua, president of the center, who also heads the Shanghai Senior Service Industry Association.