An expert in elderly care has urged the government to provide more support to help care homes upgrade their facilities and improve staffing levels. Vera Tang, deputy director of the Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies at Lingnan University, says some small, private care homes may close if workforce issues are not addressed.
Lawmakers will on Wednesday discuss proposed legislation that looks at raising the minimum area per resident, enhancing staffing levels and tightening regulation on care home operators.
Tang said there was a particular need to retain workers and to train more nurses.
"The staff shortage and high turnover rates are the major problems facing residential care homes, in particular, retaining experienced nurses, health workers and care workers," she told RTHK.
Recently there have been migration issues, meaning some nurses may have moved to live in other countries. Research has also found that the average age of care workers is 50, so it's really difficult to retain the staff the sector needs.
"I'm particularly concerned about the government addressing the shortage of nurses in the medium to long term by increasing university grant committee-funded training places in Hong Kong," Tang said.