Helping elderly care nurses cope with aging population

Helping elderly care nurses cope with aging population

A program was launched on Thursday at Shanghai Open University to provide training for 320 nursing staff to cope with serving the aging population and increasing demand for elderly care.

The program hosted by the university and the Shanghai Senior Service Industry Association will host professional skills training for workers from local nursing homes and community-based service providers for taking care of senior citizens.

According to the latest census, there are more than 5.8 million people aged 60 or above in Shanghai, accounting for 23.4 percent of the city’s total population.

“There’s an increasing demand for personalized and diversified senior-care services in the city,” said Xu Qihua, director of the Shanghai Senior Service Industry Association. “Higher requirements have been posed on the elderly nursing staff.”

Xu said the use of intelligent products and care for the elderly with cognitive disorders are among new needs in care services for the elderly, and the lack of professional nursing staff is a thorny issue.

Currently, there are about 70,000 elderly nursing workers in Shanghai, but only 9.16 percent of them have middle- or high-level qualifications, according to the association.

“It’s not difficult to recruit nursing staff, but it is difficult to find those who are highly skilled and well-rounded,” said a staffer in an elderly-care institution who asked to remain anonymous.

The training will cover various new needs, including quality control of nursing services, practice for small unit family-care models, care for seniors with cognitive disorders, applications of smart devices in elderly care, stress management and psychological counseling for elderly care personnel.

Among them, care for seniors with cognitive disorders has received the most attention from trainees.

“Many people suffer from cognitive impairment as they age, and there are many elderly people with cognitive disorders in our nursing home,” said Luo Sizhe, director of the 6th Community Welfare Nursing Home in Yangpu District.

Luo suggests that nursing personnel should not only meet the dietary and daily living needs of elderly cognitive disorder patients, but also meet their spiritual needs and provide psychological care.

“I am expecting the course on cognitive disorder to guide nursing staff on how to provide more effective care services for elderly patients with cognitive disorders,” he said.

Luo is one of the trainees who was born after 1990. The nursing staff born after 1980 accounts for 60 percent of the participants in the training program, as the elderly nursing team in the city is getting younger.

The training also features a special course on stress management and mental adjustments.

According to a survey conducted by the university with 900 senior caregivers, 44.2 percent said they experience “relatively high pressure” at work, while 25.4 percent said the pressure is “very high.”

During the training, the university will conduct psychological assessments of the trainees, while teaching them how to manage stress and make psychological adjustments.

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