Objective: The recent population census showed China had officially become a graying society. In the meantime, China also faces a growing burden of non-communicable diseases. Since 2009, a series of policies have been implemented to enhance primary care at the community level. This study describes the elderly care services provided in the differently organized community health centers (CHCs).
Methods: It covered 13 CHCs of six cities located within the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region. In-depth interviews were conducted with a total of 59 health administrators, CHC managers, and CHC doctors regarding elderly care.
Results: The study found that accessibility of healthcare for elders has been improved due to the development of health insurance schemes as well as preferential policy to encourage the CHC utilization by the elderly. All the CHCs provide health examinations and chronic disease management to the permanent elderly within their catchment district. However, some preventative care such as fall prevention, immunization and mental health management are not provided.
Conclusion: Key barriers include low capacity of health service providers in the CHCs, and a lack of government investment in CHCs. Our report provides an empirical evidence for the health care reform in China.