In 2021 we conducted a series of discussions to define our renewed vision for long-term care, based on the inputs of our members and partners. Our reflection led to a more positive vision, built on the purpose of long-term care of ensuring autonomy and independence of persons of all ages. Care systems need to ensure older people can be part of society as equal citizens and should not foster the idea that the persons in need for care are burdens to society.
Our vision is outlined in policy brief “Care must empower us throughout our lives”, which is particularly timely as the European Commission is planning to launch its EU Care Strategy in autumn this year.
Together with our members, we identified what needs to be changed to enable a rights-based vision of care for older people. Long-term care systems in the EU have strengths, but also weaknesses, particularly with regard to the realisation of the rights of persons in need for care: ageism, linked to poor quality of care; lack of, or insufficient access, to care; and problems in the organisation of care: lack of coordination between health and social care, staff shortages, insufficient funding, administrative barriers.
After the pandemic, short-term solutions have been adopted, but a longer-term reflection and reform process, refocused on the purpose of care, is needed to address the shortcomings of current systems. And make sure the dramatic situation experienced during COVID-19 can no longer happen in the future.
While organising an event with the Red Cross in December 2021, we have developed a joint vision with the Red Cross EU Office on the EU Care Strategy.