Aged care assessors: a new profession in China's aging society

By Wang Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 14, 2020
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Liang Yuan, an assessor at Beijing Xiaoyuan Hospital Management Co., Ltd, conducts an assessment. [Photo provided to]

Liang Yuan has been working with older people for a year and a half, assessing their abilities and needs. This July, her job achieved official recognition as a new profession by China's human resources authority.

According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, aged care assessors are responsible for carrying out assessments of older people's health status, including such aspects as their cognitive abilities, physical health, social participation, and control over daily life.

Before becoming an assessor, Liang worked as a nurse in a hospital for 10 years. Her interest in aged care led her to switch to her current company where she underwent several rounds of training in early 2019. Now, she typically assesses more than 50 older people each week.

"The assessment results are used to determine whether the person being tested is eligible for government subsidies for seniors with disabilities," Liang said.

He Wanting, head of the assessors at Beijing Xiaoyuan Hospital Management Co., Ltd where Liang works, also highlighted the importance of assessments.

"For one thing, assessment is required for determining social welfare for older people, which can help ease the financial burden of families who care for older relatives with disabilities," He explained. "It also serves as a reference to help them find suitable aged care services or medical treatment, be it home-based or in a care home."

Back in 2013, the Ministry of Civil Affairs laid down special criteria for assessing the abilities of older people. Over the past two years, the assessments have been rolled out across Beijing following a series of pilot schemes.

The Beijing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau has now published a list of 79 qualified third-party assessment agencies in Beijing on their website from which senior citizens and nursing homes can choose when applying for assessment.

Founded in 2015, Beijing Jingshi Elderly Physical and Mental Health Assessment Service Center is one of these 79 agencies. Each week, the six full-time assessors at this non-governmental organization assess an average of 200 to 300 senior citizens.

Liu Wanming, supervisor at the Assessment Service Center, noted that recognition of the profession will help promote the aged care industry and improve healthcare services for older people.

According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, by the end of 2019, China had almost 254 million citizens aged 60 and above, accounting for 18.1% of the total population. Among these, over 44 million have some form of disability.

It is estimated that more than 1.5 million aged care assessors are needed, while the number of full-time and part-time practitioners currently stands at fewer than 100,000, according to China Youth Daily.

"The increasing number of older people requires more professional assessors," explained Liang. "Official recognition of this profession provides better career prospects for those who are skilled and interested in helping older people."

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