Danish elder care in demand in China

The number of senior citizens in China is increasing, which leads to a demand in knowledge about elder care, especially technology and hygiene. VIA offers education and training modules in the field.

In May 2015, Anna Birthe Bach moved to Shanghai to become project manager for VIA University College. The 62 year-old physician will assist VIA in selling elder care education and training.

By journalist Camilla Marcincowski, cama@via.dk

Since completing her Master’s thesis in China in 2010, Anna Birthe Bach has taken great interest in the country – an example of which was deciding to learn Chinese. 

Shanghai carries you away 

In April 2015, she was employed as international project manager for VIA’s Faculty of Health Sciences in Shanghai, a city and a job, which fills the former physician, manager and educator with enthusiasm. 

”The Chinese have so much to offer professionally, culturally and as human beings,” says Anna Birthe Bach. 

China looks to learn from Danmark 

The history of VIA in China began in 2001, when the university college started cooperating with Chinese universities on exchange and tuition. 

In recent years, China has seen an increase in the number of senior citizens that require professional care. This has led to a demand in knowledge about elder care, rehabilitation and dementia. In these areas, Denmark is known for its highly educated staff and values - which match those of the Chinese. 

This market for Danish-style elder care is one that Anna Birthe will help cultivate. 

China has beautiful traditions 

Already, her stay in Shanghai has provided Anna Birthe Bach with a profound respect for China’sview of senior citizens. In her opinion, Denmark could learn a lot. 

“China has a beautiful and respectful way of being around older people,” Anna Birthe Bach says. 

Theain purpose of her job is to further develop the courses VIA offer in China. 

”We tailor the content of our training to the culture and the requirements that we experience”, she says. 

General hygiene and lifting and moving 

So far, China is interested in knowledge about techniques for lifting and moving – how to lift and support physically handicapped people and how these people may develop skills to be able to help themselves. 

In addition, China looks for knowledge on hygiene. As many seniors live at home, it is important that the healthy family members do not become ill. Also, training in handling (Western) medicine is in demand. 

Everyone wants to learn 

Initially, VIA’s courses targeted homecare businesses and elder care homes. But now, regular people are interested in learning. 

Anna Birthe Bach says people want to learn how best to care for their parents who may be suffering from dementia, diabetes or COPD. They typically lookfor weekend courses. 

"I spoke with a 55-year-old retired teacher who said she needed our training. She could not afford to send her parents to a nursing home. And, in the usual Chinese manner she planned to make a little extra money from caring for the elderly neighbors as well," she says. 

We need inspiration 

The market for private home care and "community centres" is also growing. The centres are built as units that include elder care homes, kindergartens and primary schools, and they work as small communities on their own,However, most employees have no training in elderly care. 

"The new community centres are interesting for VIA, because they need skilled staff. " says Anna Birthe Bach. 

One of VIA’s current contracts is to educate employees and manage a privately owned luxury elder care home in Chongqing. Anna Birthe Bach will act as manager for the care home. 

China is important to Danish students 

VIA’s activities in China, however, still focus on offering students and teachers opportunities in China. 

"China is one of the world's largest and most influential economies. Future Danish healthcare professionals will experience a global demand for their education and skills," she says. 

Read Anna Birthe Bach’s blog from China 

Facts about VIA’s courses in China: 

  • VIA’s Faculty of Health Sciences offers brief training modules from a few days up to 8 weeks. Certificates are issued in co-operation with Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences. 
  • The target group is Chinese staff with no medical education and Chinese health professionals who want to specialise in elder care. Also,the general population is a target group. 
  • Courses include training in rehabilitation, self-help, lifting and moving techniques, hygiene, health and nutrition, and caring for people with dementia. 

For additional information, please contact: 

Karen Frederiksen, Associate Dean, PhD, Head of International Affairs, 
VIA Faculty of Health Sciences, 
VIA University College 

T: +45 8755 2969 
E: kafr@via.dk