Cancer surge prompts rise of special hotels

Such hotels have sprouted up in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai
Beijing: Li Xiaohe has set herself up for the long haul in a cramped but sunny room in western Beijing, about a block from China’s most renowned cancer hospital. Her laundry dries on hangers and her husband cooks in a communal kitchen as she embarks on an 84-day programme of chemotherapy, following the removal of part of her right breast.
The youthful, soft-spoken 43-year-old, who works as a neighbourhood watch leader back home in Henan province, is living in one of the many so-called cancer hotels that dot the neighbourhood around the hospital, giving patients an affordable, cosy place to wait for appointments and undergo outpatient treatment.
With cancer rates surging in China, such hotels have sprouted up in big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, part of an ad hoc response to what medical experts say is a growing health crisis challenging an unprepared medical system.
“The treatment back home is different from here, so we came here,” Li says in her bedroom, which is filled almost completely by her mattress. “At home, my insurance covers 85 per cent of the cost. It’ll be good if I can even get half of it covered here. But I’m doing this for my health. I’m looking for the right treatment.”
These patients venture far for treatment believing they can’t find adequate care in hometowns, instead preferring to camp out near reputable, big-city hospitals to await their turn for care. They do that even though government health insurance often covers less of the cost of care in Beijing and other big cities than it does back home.
The hotels, which mostly operate informally, don’t provide nursing but put patients closer to medical services and experts, and give them a place to cook their own food and share tips with fellow patients. Despite their name, they are not traditional hotels, but furnished units in apartment blocks near medical facilities, charging as little as $7 a night per room.
( Source : AP )
Next Story