A few days ago, I received the government’s “Recommendations for appropriate COVID-19 [Wuhan pneumonia] epidemic prevention activities in the home, community, neighborhood long-term care centers, community care centers and dementia centers.”
The recommendations asked the centers to train staff members on how to gain an understanding of the outbreak’s status, how to determine whether people are infected, and how to promote awareness about respiratory health and vaccinations.
What the government does not understand is that the centers do not have the capability to offer specialist training to staff members.
Most of the centers have been set up by community development associations and village offices, and they are run by borough wardens or community association leaders.
They are closely integrated with their local community, but they have no mastery of health policy-related medical expertise, so how could they organize disease-prevention training and health training?
The disease-prevention recommendations are not matched with any supervisory regulations, nor are there any prevention standards to follow.
The recommendation makes no mention of site security, staff training content or coronavirus awareness that the centers must possess, nor does the government provide any official prevention training materials.
The government’s belief that the centers can handle prevention issues seems overly optimistic, but a place where dozens of elderly people come and go every day must not ignore the potential of community infection.
There must be no loopholes in community prevention work.
Many old people gather in community concern centers and C-level neighborhood long-term care centers, which is another focus for disease prevention. The central government has so far issued no guidance on whether the centers should remain open, so the decision is in the hands of local governments.
In this situation, greater attention should be given to providing training to staff at the centers. The government should provide teaching materials on disease prevention and organize training.
If there is a shortage of time or trainers, local medical organizations could help organize prevention training.
Disease prevention at the centers must be integrated with community and health policy so that medical expertise can be brought in and make up for any lack of disease-prevention knowledge at the centers.
This is the only way to provide our elderly citizens with a safe environment.
Du Ying-chun is an attending physician at Dr Lin’s Holistic Chinese Medical Clinic and principal of Sun Bamboo Forest Community Care Center.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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