Chinese hospital pilots shared wheelchairs

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 3, 2018
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Similar to shared bicycles, shared wheelchairs have made their way into hospitals in east China's Shandong province, bringing convenience to patients in need of receiving transfusion or walking assistance.

Forty shared wheelchairs have been in service in Qilu Hospital affiliated to Shandong University.

Chen Yuguo, deputy director of the hospital, said customers can scan QR codes to download the app to their cell phones, and pay a deposit of 299 yuan (US$43.5) to start using the shared wheelchairs.

He said the wheelchairs can be used for free for the first two hours. Users need to pay 1 yuan for every 10 minutes of extra time after the first two hours.

Chen said the shared wheelchairs must be returned to designated parking areas in the hospital, where radio transmitters can recognize they have been returned and stop charging fees.

The Shandong No. 3 Provincial Hospital has introduced 30 shared wheelchairs.

Han Ye, deputy director of the hospital, said they found 20-30 percent of patients in the hospital were in need of wheelchair assistance.

Shandong has over 20 million people aged over 60, accounting for 20.68 percent of its total population. The aging rate is the highest among the provincial-level regions in China. A large number of the elderly already require walking assistance.

Health experts suggested that shared wheelchairs should also be provided in scenic spots, bus terminals and airports to facilitate travel.

The wheelchair sharing is a pilot program jointly launched by the two hospitals and the Health China Promotion Work Committee, a government-sponsored initiative to promote health facilities and provide policy consultations. 

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