Long-term care has been increasingly more pronounced in the social policies of economically developed countries, primarily due to the ageing population and a growing number of older people who need help with the activities of daily living. Hence our priority is to prepare systemic solutions concerning long-term care, including drafting a law on long-term care and compulsory long-term care insurance. The purpose of systemic regulation is to ensure that beneficiaries with comparable needs will have access to comparable rights, which will be in a higher share financed from public funds.
What is long-term care?
Long-term care is a system of services and measures intended for those who are, due to diseases, frailty associated with old age, injuries, disabilities, or lack or loss of intellectual capacities, for an extended period of time or permanently dependent on others for assistance with basic and instrumental activities of daily living.
Key challenges of long-term care in Slovenia
Long-term care in Slovenia is faced with two key challenges: fragmented and non-transparent services which are governed by different legal regulations and various sources of financing these services. Currently, Slovenia does not have a uniform system of long-term care. Services and cash benefits are provided by the healthcare and social protection systems, pension and disability insurance and systemic care for persons with the most severe disabilities, those disabled in war and war veterans. Beneficiaries can choose between services provided in their home environment or in institutional settings. They can also apply for cash benefits, for example an assistance and attendance allowance, or a care and assistance allowance.
Services and benefits are financed from social security contributions and taxes. Furthermore, users' private funds and those of their family members and local communities are used to pay in full or in part for social assistance services.
In the past, emphasis was placed on institutional forms of care and much less on developing community-based services or home care.
Systemic regulation of long-term care
Slovenia is becoming an ageing society. People older than 65 years of age account for 19.7% of Slovenia's population and, according to projections, this will increase to 30% by 2050. The percentage of those over 80 years of age will increase from 5% in 2016 to 11.4% in 2050. The ageing of the population will result in a growing need for long-term care. This will be matched by parallel trends of higher public and private costs of long-term care.
New, systemic regulation of long-term care is needed to guarantee the system’s sustainability, so that it will be able to fulfil beneficiaries’ needs in the long run.
The proposed measures are moving in the direction of:
- the setting up of a one-stop shop for information on health, social protection and long-term care and for beneficiary-friendly procedures;
- the introduction of uniform assessment of eligibility, leading to a system in which beneficiaries with comparable needs have access to comparable rights;
- the introduction of new services so that the beneficiaries in all environments – be it at home or in an institution – have access to comparable services and are provided with the services for strengthening and maintaining their independence and e-services;
- the establishment of efficient quality and safety controls;
- a higher percentage of public funds for co-financing long-term care, which will in turn reduce the amounts paid by beneficiaries for services and reduce financial burden on local communities.
In 2017, the Ministry of Health took on the task of drafting the umbrella law, which will in a uniform manner regulate long-term care. In accordance with the government's legislative work programme for 2019, the draft law on long-term care will be submitted to the government in November 2019.
Long-term care pilot projects
The "Implementation of Pilot Projects That Will Support the Transition of the Implementation of a Systemic Law on Long-term Care" is a test project for new solutions for long-term care, targeting persons who are older than 18 years of age and are permanently dependent on care by others. The project will introduce a one-stop shop, a new long-term care eligibility scale and new services. New services will combine healthcare and social services – including the services maintaining and strengthening independent living and the e-care services.
The project, which is co-financed by the cohesion funds, is being implemented in three pilot environments: Celje, Krško and Dravograd.