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Death leads to stricter nursing home supervision

[ 2010-12-27 13:07]     字号 [] [] []  
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Authorities in Central China's Hubei province have launched an inspection campaign to monitor rural nursing institutions after an elderly man with a mental illness died from abuse at a nursing home in Yingshan county, Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

The provincial department of civil affairs had sent four work teams to conduct random examinations of rural nursing homes' management, a Dec 23 statement on its website said.

The department also urged lower governmental levels to improve nursing home staffs' awareness and responsibility after the media disclosed the abuse scandal.

Police detained Ding Congjian, a staff member of Taohe Nursing Home, who allegedly tied up 68-year-old Chu Yingyun and hung him upside down overnight in subzero temperatures, causing his death on Nov 26, Beijing News reported.

Ding caught Chu, who did not have children, throwing excrement from a chamber pot out the window on the evening of Nov 25.

Following an argument, Ding allegedly hung Chu upside down overnight, during which time the temperature dropped below zero.

Ding later said Chu had died from coronary heart disease. Chu's nephew did not believe Ding and contacted police.

Ding was arrested after an autopsy revealed frost and starvation led to Chu's death, Beijing News reported.

Nursing home resident Xiao Benqua, who witnessed Chu's death, told Beijing News that residents dared not loosen the rope, as they all feared Ding, who had a bad temper and often beat them.

The government-funded nursing home had only two caretakers for its 17 elderly residents, 10 of whom have physical or mental illnesses. Ding was left in charge after the director asked for maternity leave in September, the report said.

The nursing home allegedly did roll call three times a day.

And the elderly were not allowed to leave without the director's permission.

A county civil affairs bureau official surnamed Shen told China Daily on Sunday that the tragedy was "an accident", and the government has enhanced supervision over all local nursing homes to "prevent it from happening again".

Fang Jiake, deputy head of the Tianjin-based Hetong Senior Citizens Welfare Association, believed independent monitors are needed to watch over State-run nursing institutions.

Shen said local nursing homes are shorthanded and do not have sufficient government funds to hire professionals or train caregivers.

Fang suggested giving priority to the elderly who have physical and mental illnesses, given the limited resources for caring for the country's graying population.


(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

Death leads to stricter nursing home supervision

Death leads to stricter nursing home supervision

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.