Finnish Government Radically Reforms Elderly Care

The scandalous elderly crisis caused on by poor supervision and privatisation of care services, has been attacked by the new Finnish government that has come out with some solid reform proposals.

The most important reform is legislation for the staffing of enhanced care of the elderly will be set at minimum of 0,7 care-staff per patient.This care-staff ratio will not include support services like cleaners, cooks, and drivers.  

There will be a short transition period to enable care homes to prepare for the growth in staffing needs with the deadline for full convergence by 1.4.2023.

The second important reform is the establishment of a fully integrated monitoring and evaluation system of all care homes by SOTE centre called “RAI”.  There will be some 18 SOTE centres throughout the whole country and all of them will report systematically to the various ministries in central government.This RAI system will be part of the new legislation.

RAI is abbreviated from Resident Assessment Instrument and is an international system for assessment of nursing home residents. It is considered to be one of the best tools for assessing the uniform needs of services and the development of service quality.

It is estimated that some 5 000 care-staff need to be recruited to fulfil the above staffing requirements in care homes. The government is planning to support their recruitment by increasing the funding for the training of nurses and other care staff. They believe that the new staffing levels will improve working conditions for care staff professionals and that in turn will attract qualified staff to join this workforce. Furthermore, the government will continue to recruit suitably qualified foreigners, but they do not expect to see huge numbers arriving on Finland’s shores.

The total costs of these expanded services will be spread out over the coming three year period and are expected to be over some €200 million. 

The government is planning to cover these extra costs from the following sources, which are all expected to come from cost savings in the following areas:

  • Private sector healthcare services will see cuts in the subsidies they receive from the government.
  • There will be large savings through better procurement of healthcare services and goods through the new SOTE centres.
  • New digital services will be introduced for health care and care of the elderly.
  • There will be a reform of chemists and in the distribution of prescription medicines.

“Everyone living in an elderly care home deserves quality services. The new obligatory staff ratios for care staffing are a significant and necessary improvement in the quality of elderly services. The reform will also improve the attractiveness of the sector and the prosperity of professionals, ”says Krista Kiuru, Minister of Family and Basic Services.

Photo: Finnish government © Laura Kotila | valtioneuvoston kanslia

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