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Shanghai boosts care for elderly, critically ill

China Daily| Updated: April 15, 2022
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Shanghai has bolstered caregiving services for the elderly who live alone, patients with critical illnesses, people with disabilities, and low-income families during the latest wave of COVID-19 infections.

Civil affairs authorities in the city collected information about elderly people in need of help and carried out care campaigns to share with them local prevention and control policies and offer psychological counseling.

At the Taichen community in Jiading district, for example, the neighborhood committee has been offering elderly people who live by themselves free fresh food.

"My husband and I have trouble using smartphones to purchase food online. The committee helps us order food and donates daily necessities to us. We're grateful," said a resident surnamed Gu.

The service is also available in other regions, including the Xujiahui subdistrict where a team of 15 couriers collect take-away meals from local canteens and deliver them to elderly individuals.

Jiahui Health, which is responsible for nucleic acid tests in Xuhui's Hongmei subdistrict, said medical workers proactively provided services to more than 900 elderly residents and other vulnerable people at their doorstep.

"Each of the 27 workers in the team climbed at least 80 floors each day of the testing in these neighborhoods without lifts to help the groups in need," said Lyu Yubo, a doctor from the hospital's imaging department.

In-house services are available for elderly people with chronic diseases living alone or those who require assistance with daily personal care.

The Shanghai Disabled Persons' Federation has also connected with disabled individuals to determine their needs. Such individuals can contact a hotline for counseling.

Official data shows that local rescue management stations have taken care of nearly 1,900 people who have poor living conditions due to the outbreak.

Some 640 million yuan ($100.5 million) in social assistance funds was distributed in March to over 170,000 residents struggling financially due to COVID-19, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.

For those suffering from severe diseases, such as cancer or mental illness, the Shanghai Red Cross Society has raised funds to help with their essential needs.

The Shanghai Health Commission said the city currently has nine people with severe COVID-19 infections, including eight aged between 70 and 93. All receive medical treatment with additional healthcare at designated hospitals, said Wu Qianyu, a primary inspector with the commission.

"All of the elderly COVID patients have serious underlying diseases," she said, adding that none has received a COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Shanghai registered 27,719 locally transmitted infections, including 2,573 confirmed cases, on Wednesday. The daily number of newly reported infections in the city has surpassed 20,000 for six consecutive days.