The European Commission study on Long-Term-Care (LTC) highlights the common trends in Europe such as the shift from residential to homecare services, financial issues and the expansion of informal care.
In the light of ageing populations, the demand for LTC services is constantly increasing whilst in most countries budgets to provide it keep decreasing. In a European context, the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) postulates citizens’ right to affordable LTC of good quality, particularly home-care and community-based services.
The four challenges across Europe
The study produced a synthesis report that provides analysis of cross-cutting themes and challenges across the EU, and a country profile for each country. The country profiles analyse four challenges in each country:
- access to and adequacy of LTC provisions
- issues related to the employment situation of carers
- the quality of LTC provision and jobs
- the financial sustainability of national LTC provisions
The report sheds comparative light on issues related to provision of LTC and where members states stand regarding the pillar 18 of the EPSR, concluding that:
- Most European countries face issues relating to financing LTC
- There is a clear trend toward prioritising homecare over residential homes
- There is a high incidence and expansion of informal care
An opportunity for progress
Long-term care is the responsibility of Member States, however, the visibility given to it in the EPSR opens opportunities to develop a more ambitious action plan at the EU level to respond to the growing common challenges. ESN welcomes this new impetus and is working to raise awareness on LTC issues at the local level. To that end in 2017 we produced the “Investing in later life - A toolkit for social services providing care for older people” and we will continue to work with our members discussing the care services market.
The way forward
ESN works to promote best practice examples from its members to overcome common European challenges posed, such as those raised in this new Commission report. Read an example on our practice library here of how an ESN member in Finland is working to lower costs in delivering LTC through improving efficiency and also enabling older people to live at home for longer.