Visitors to China nursing home soar after financial rewards shame children into seeing parents
Credit: YANGTZE EVENING NEWS

Many of us have had experiences with a family member in long-term nursing care. With the increase in baby-boomers, there are an increased number of people being placed in nursing facilities. While some nursing home patients have visitors, some may rarely see anyone outside of the nursing staff. This can lead to residents feeling lonely and isolated, despite the efforts of the staff in providing an interactive environment.

As we all know from experience, impaired mental or emotional health can interfere with physical healing and wellbeing. Lack of family interaction with residents in nursing homes is an ongoing problem. A nursing facility in Beijing, China has attempted to resolve this issue by offering incentives for family members that visit.

“I believe that giving them mental comforts is essential, and these can only be given by loved ones.”

According to the article by The Telegraph, children of the residents receive discounts for facility care costs. They are also paid based on the number of visits in a month.

“Children can earn 200 yuan ($29) in vouchers if they visit their parents more than 30 times in two months, while they will get 100 yuan for 20 times, and 50 yuan for 10 times,” the article says.

According to the home’s director, Yin Zongyin, the “mental well-being” of the residents has improved.

“It is very effective. Children do visit their parents more since we implemented the policy,” he said in an interview with The Telegraph.

“Most elderly people at the home have differing levels of disability, and some are suffering from serious illnesses, such as cancers and stroke, so they need children’s visiting more than other elderly people.

“I believe that giving them mental comforts is essential, and these can only be given by loved ones.”

While pleased that there is an improvement in the residents, I am concerned about the facility’s financial ability to continue with the incentive. What are your thoughts on the incentives? Is it okay to pay family members to visit their relatives, if it means improved patient well-being?

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