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2018 Conference Presentation

Care integration CroatiaDenmarkEUGermanyPortugalRomaniaTurkey

11 September 2018

A long-term care system in every country for universal health coverage: Findings from the study on integrated health and long-term care delivery

Manfred Huber, WHO Europe, EU


Objectives: The WHO Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health (2016-2020) adopted by WHO’s Member States in 2016 provides a policy framework to ensure that the global response to population ageing is aligned with the ambitious UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The WHO strategy is built on the new WHO conceptualisation of Healthy Ageing and commits to action in areas where evidence is strong, but also points out many crucial gaps in knowledge and capacity, e.g. regarding integrated care. To prepare for the Decade of Healthy Ageing from 2020 to 2030 WHO Europe contributes with concrete actions to underpin priority areas to which European countries have committed themselves to under the Strategy and action plan for healthy ageing in Europe (2012-2020). The overall findings and policy recommendations of the study on health and social care integration in long-term care settings will be summarized in this presentation.

Methods: The presentation is based on a transversal analysis of six case studies from Turkey, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Denmark and Croatia, including expert group meetings to identify and elaborate on policy recommendations. This will be briefly complemented by findings from a policy review that covers all European Member States.

Results: The study on integrated health and long-term care delivery showed a wide range of areas that need to be addressed both in countries with established LTC systems and in those with less developed systems and processes of care delivery. This entails fundamental issues of (gender) equity and (family) ethics in setting up and reforming the regulatory framework, in particular with respect to the rising number of older people with dementia or multimorbidity. While recruiting, training and retaining an appropriate workforce both in quantitative and qualitative terms will be a crucial challenge in the context of population ageing in all countries, it is also a major enabling factor for more integrated LTC delivery. In addition, integrated LTC for older people will also need changes in our images on ageing and the way we organize an age-friendly environment and general living conditions.

Conclusions: The study has identified a number of opportunities for mutual learning between countries but in particular triggered awareness for change and the necessity of improved access to LTC service delivery in countries where LTC is only just emerging as a key area of health and social policy.

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