Changing Elderly Care – a Multibillion-Challenge

In a move that could revolutionize elderly care, the proposed legislation aims to enable social workers to provide primary medical treatment to seniors with limited mobility. The law would allow social facilities to offer medical services such as bandage changes and blood pressure measurements, eliminating the need for seniors to seek medical professionals for simple procedures. The potential impact of this change is significant, as it could improve access to care for seniors while reducing the burden on healthcare providers.

The proposed law has the potential to benefit not only seniors but also senior homes and hospitals. However, despite its potential, the legislation has yet to reach government discussion. If it does not come into effect by next year, the Czech Republic may lose approximately 8.5 billion Czech koruna from the National Recovery Plan. The law’s approval is a prerequisite for accessing these funds, prompting negotiations with the European Commission to consider a possible deadline extension.

The delay in passing the law has raised concerns among practitioners who argue that it is essential to enhance the integration and accessibility of social and healthcare services. Critics highlight the need to address home care services, palliative care, physiotherapy, nutritional support, and other aspects that could contribute to a comprehensive care system. Although the law would not make social healthcare services mandatory, it provides an opportunity to streamline and improve care provision for those with high levels of dependence.

While the legislation may not automatically create new services from January 1, it represents a step toward integrating social and healthcare services, ensuring individuals receive comprehensive care in a single location. However, implementing the law will require significant financial investments and the recruitment of additional healthcare professionals, including nurses, physiotherapists, nutrition therapists, clinical psychologists, and occupational therapists.

The legislation on long-term care, which also addresses the establishment of social residential services, is a requirement set by the European Commission for accessing funds for further projects. However, the legislative process typically takes several months, posing a challenge to meeting the deadline. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, is currently working on developing the law.

The introduction of social-healthcare services has long been anticipated, mainly due to the growing number of hospital patients requiring care. The potential benefits of comprehensive care for individuals with limited self-sufficiency are immense. However, carefully evaluating each patient’s condition is crucial before providing these services. Such care is considered a pillar of Europe’s social policies, and it is hoped that it will become an integral part of the Czech Republic’s care system.

As the legislation progresses, it is essential to consider the provision of services in institutional settings and the support for individuals receiving care at home. By offering a range of services in domestic environments, the necessity of placing individuals in various facilities can be delayed. Gerontological centers and other care providers play a vital role in ensuring the quality and accessibility of these services. Still, financial support is necessary to sustain their operations and maintain service standards.

Changing elderly care is a complex and multibillion-dollar challenge. Still, with the proper legislation and investments, the Czech Republic can take a significant step toward an integrated and comprehensive care system that meets the needs of its aging population.