Increased longevity, medical advances, shrinking working-age population and changing family patterns mean that Member States of the European Union, while diverse, face a common challenge of growing needs for long-term care. Improving access to quality and affordable long-term care services, in particular to community-based care, provided by adequately qualified professionals, is therefore crucial across Europe.
Germany has responded to these challenges with three ‘Long-Term Care Strengthening Acts’ that entered into force during the past legislative period from 2013 to 2017. The legislative changes redefine long-term care needs and aim to strengthen community-based care by support and counselling opportunities in municipalities and enhanced support for informal and formal carers.
This Peer Review thus provided an occasion to compare the German reforms to other Member States’ policies in the area of long-term care. German stakeholders presented an overview of latest reforms and good practices to other Member States, while these presented their responses to similar challenges. The event focused on the following key areas:
- How to define long-term care needs and how to assess individual care needs;
- How to strengthen long-term care at home and in the community via local counselling and support structures;
- New types of (semi-)residential arrangements;
- A better coordination between health and social care services.
The German Federal Ministry of Health hosted this event and exchanged lessons learned, good and innovative practices with participants from Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.