The government is increasing efforts to create a long-term care system with policies to establish a care services network, which will pave the way to a long-term care insurance program, officials said at a conference yesterday.
Building a sound long-term care system is an urgent issue for the government, as the number of people aged over 65 has reached about 11 percent of Taiwan’s 23 million population, Minister Without Portfolio James Hsueh (薛承泰) said, adding that the aged population will grow rapidly in coming years.
The draft Long-term Care Services act — which is at the Legislature pending review — is an important step toward the creation of a system to provide better care for the elderly, Hsueh said at a conference held by the Taiwan Association of Long-Term Care Professionals.
The proposed act aims to set up a network for long-term care services, said Teng Su-wen (鄧素文), director-general of the Bureau of Nursing and Healthcare under the Department of Health.
To this end, “we have to find out which areas lack care services resources,” Teng said, adding that the next step is to create incentives, such as providing subsidies, to promote the establishment of more medical and care-giving institutions.
Another purpose of the draft act is to better regulate long-term care institutions to ensure the quality of their services, Teng said.
As increasing numbers of staff will be needed for a long-term care system, the Taiwanese public should also change its slightly negative attitude toward caregivers, Hsueh said.
Echoing Hsueh’s remarks, professor Lee Yue-chune (李玉春) — a consultant general of the health department’s Long-term Care Preparatory Task Force — said it was necessary to enhance working conditions and create an employment system for caregivers.
As part of the government’s efforts to better care for senior citizens, a 10-year project was launched in 2008 as a preliminary step toward a long-term care system, the health department said.