Research highlights strong potential for social innovation in long-term care
AGE is partner of Mobilising the Potentials of Active Ageing in Europe (MoPAct), a multidisciplinary European research project that investigates the impact of ageing in Europe and how research and innovation can contribute to active and healthy ageing.
Among the topics covered by this research, long-term care and social support deserve an important place. As part of its final outcomes, MoPAct has delivered a Policy Brief on the “Potentials for active ageing by social innovation in long-term care and social support”, which was presented during the final project conference in Brussels.
Long-term care has been only recently considered as a social risk that deserves social protection. Big challenges remain in the form of weak quality, uncoordinated services and lack of availability. MoPAct has identified four areas where there is considerable potential and strong need for innovation in long-term care and social support:
- Expansion of long-term care services
MoPAct provides ideas on how access to long-term care can be improved. These include developing needs-based access (considering care needs regardless of age or origin of the frailty), supporting informal carers, ensuring equal access across urban and metropolitan areas and targeting foreign-born older persons. According to the findings, the European Union can support expansion of long-term care by promoting the use of ICT and gathering data on supply and demand, for instance.
- Re-orienting Europe’s long-term care systems towards community-based care
The project highlights the strong potential for social innovation in shifting care towards the community. Such a shift requires the cooperation of a variety of stakeholders (formal and informal carers, volunteers), there is therefore room for innovative solutions that help them deliver care in a coordinated and complementary way. According to MoPAct, this requires incentivising grassroots initiatives and activating networks.
- The potential of integrating and coordinating long-term care
Project research has also addressed the pressing issue of the integration of care. The findings highlight that this is about considering long-term care as a social investment that can improve ultimately the independent living of older people. Local resources and networks need to play a key role for successful integration. Service delivery needs to enable integration by developing new professional profiles (such as case managers, network coordinators, social animators and mediators, etc.) and by implementing single information and consultation services (one-stop-shops).
- Social innovation in the area of employment in long-term care
Finally, MoPAct provides ideas to improve the skills and working conditions of long-term care professionals, which turn around professionalization and investment. These include developing e-learning, developing specialised and differentiated professional long-term care profiles and involving a wide range of for-profit and non-profit organisations and NGOs in training professionals on new types of long-term care services. Among the recommendations, there is a call to recognise and regulate household-based privately hired (migrant) care workers’ profiles and skills.
These findings resonate with AGE’s positions and policy objectives, and provide new evidence and orientations for our advocacy work on long-term care.
All MoPAct project findings are available in the project website.