This paper examines older people’s access to care experiences in rural China by integrating anthropological investigation with ethical inquiry. Six months of fieldwork in a post-reform primary hospital show how rural residents struggle to access gerontological and nursing care under socially disadvantageous conditions. This anthropological investigation highlights the unmet needs in medical and nursing care for older people, as well as some social, institutional and structural elements that impede access to care. Centring on protecting the vulnerable as informed by feminist ethics scholarship, this paper argues that the failure to meet older people’s dependency needs is unjust, on the premise that it suggests a denial of the inherent value, rights and dignity of older people. This paper appeals for the provision of greater care and support by the state through putting in place social arrangements that better advance older people’s access to care. Some policy recommendations concerning health and social care reform for older people in rural China are also proposed.
Asian Bioethics Review – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 23, 2019