18 Aug 2011

How European Nations Care for Their Elderly: A new typology of long-term care systems

Markus Kraus / Thomas Czypionka / Monika Riedel / Esther Mot / Peter Willemé

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Expected future demographic and societal shifts have put the improvement of quality and efficiency of long-term-care (LTC) systems on the agenda of virtually every EU member state, last but not least in order to support its long-term financial sustainability. Research to support the reform process, however, suffers from the scarcity of reliable and comparable data to work with, and the extent to which the process can be generalised is further complicated by large differences in the design of national LTC systems.
Work Package 1 of the ANCIEN (Assessing Needs for Care in European Nations) project collected data on national LTC systems in 21 European countries and produced national reports describing the structure of these systems. The collected material allowed the project team to derive a typology of LTC systems in European countries, or more specifically: to derive one typology of organisation and financing of care, and another typology focusing on use and financing of care. Unlike existing typologies, the ANCIEN typologies focus on LTC rather than a broader definition of social, health or welfare services, and include old as well as new EU member states. Furthermore, the ambitious data collection process allowed the project team to apply formal methods in deriving the typology, which is another novelty in this field. The creation of empirically founded system ‘types’ should serve to make research in this field more easily generalisable within groups of this typology and thus to improve the efficiency of further research on LTC.