Forum highlights need for hospice care in China

Hu Min
A recent forum discussed efforts to close the hospice care supply-demand gap in China and regulate relevant procedures.
Hu Min
Forum highlights need for hospice care in China
Ti Gong

Participants shared insights on topics such as hospice care, death and farewell.

Speakers at a recent forum said that initiatives were being made to close the supply and demand gap for hospice care in China and regulate pertinent procedures.

The event was held before the Qingming Festival, also known as "tomb-sweeping day," which falls on April 5 this year. On that day, Chinese people pay their respects to their ancestors.

The 5th edition of the Peking University Qingming Forum was held online and offline on Sunday, bringing together nearly 300 government officials, experts and scholars, insiders in the medical treatment and funeral and interment industries, and students and teachers to discuss topics such as hospice care, death and farewell.

The largest cemetery and funeral service provider in China, Fu Shou Yuan International Group, co-hosted the forum with Peking University's School of Health Humanities. Nearly 50,000 people tuned in to watch.

Dean of the school of health and humanities Zhou Cheng said that the goal is a dignified goodbye, which requires the help of hospice and palliative care services.

A warm farewell can only be achieved when the deep barrier between medical science and funerals and interments is broken, Zhou said.

Hospice care began in the 1960s in the United States and Europe.

Forum highlights need for hospice care in China
Ti Gong

A speaker at the forum

Gu Jin, director of the Peking University Shougang Hospital, said that there was a high demand for hospice care on the Chinese mainland despite a late start and slow development.

Gu, an oncologist, noticed that many cancer patients in advanced stages lacked access to appropriate care, which led him to found a hospice facility at the hospital.

Gu said that it was good news that people from the National People's Congress and the China People's Political Consultative Conference have recently started working to expand hospice services in China.

Wang Yue, a health law professor, said the format used in the current medical institutions was too simple and ambiguous.

According to Wang, who is working to regulate clinical authorization and entrust behavior, the China Health Law Society is promoting the regulation of minors' hospice care procedures.

Sun Wei, director of the bone tumor division of Shanghai General Hospital, said there were about 10,000 new cases of osteocarcinoma among children and teenagers in China each year, and it was still difficult to discuss death with them.

"Humanistic concern is necessary for medical science," Sun said.

Participants urged society to support hospice care for elderly people living alone in order to lessen their suffering during their final stages of life.

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