The toolkit is the result of ESN’s work on ageing and care between 2014 and 2016, mainly through its working group on ageing and care, its work on integrated care services and the work on the social services workforce in the framework of its 2014-2017 strategy.

Providing better care for older people

Care and support for older people is a significant challenge for public social services in light of the demographic changes taking place across Europe. The objective of the toolkit is to provide recommendations and examples of innovative practice for senior professionals working in social services who provide care for older people. The first chapter of the toolkit offers a review of the legal and policy framework and describes some of the best initiatives across Europe aimed at enhancing the independence of older people. 

Improving social services workforces

Most countries in Europe are experiencing challenges recruiting sufficient qualified staff in the social services sector, particularly in the provision of long-term care. This is due not only to the low status and image of the profession but also because of growing pressure on the workforce. These recruitment problems are expected to intensify in the future, which risks putting more pressure on the existing workforce and making it harder to provide quality care. These issues are addressed in the second chapter of the report.

Integrating social services and care

Although there is a trend towards care models with more integrated person-centred services, most countries continue to provide health and social care services for older people in silos. Integrated care refers to initiatives seeking to improve social services by overcoming issues of fragmentation through coordination better coordination between service providers. The toolkit outlines some examples of key legislative developments regarding policy frameworks for integrated health and social care. Cooperation and integration between health and social services is considered a macro, meso and micro level. 

Resources

Investing in later life -  A toolkit for social services providing care for older people