Illustrative photo (Photo : VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Elderly healthcare in Vietnam has yet to meet the needs of aging patients due to lack of medical staff and resources to set up geriatric wards.

Deputy Minister of Health Pham Le Tuan made the comment at a conference on developing the healthcare system for the elderly in Hanoi on August 10.

Only 36 percent of provincial hospitals have geriatric wards but their activities are integrated with other departments, Tuan noted, adding that the Ministry of Health plans to enhance the capacity of geriatric wards, aiming at comprehensive health care services at hospitals. The ministry has also studied giving financial support to treatment of the elderly.

According to a national census conducted in 2011, there were more than 8.6 million people aged 60 years-old and above in Vietnam, accounting for nearly 10 percent of the total population while the rate of over 65 years-old was 7 percent. The number of elderly people was predicted to rise rapidly in the coming years.

The survey also revealed that 95 percent of the old people were in poor health or had chronic diseases.

According to Director of Hanoi’s Department of Health Nguyen Khac Hien, the quality of elderly healthcare is still poor. He said that earlier, Hanoi only had one healthcare centre for the elderly; however, it was not organised and had complicated administrative procedures.

Dong Da General Hospital was the first medical establishment in Hanoi to open a geriatric ward with 40 beds and 19 staff who underwent intensive training at National Geriatric Hospital.

Director of the hospital Le Hung said that the geriatric ward will work with other wards to treat the elderly while consulting their relatives to help the patients re-integrate with their families and society.

Participants at the conference said that most Vietnamese elderly people do not have regular health check-ups and only have them when their conditions become serious, making treatment difficult.-VNA