Many working in elderly care employed to take care of relatives

Close to every third municipality in Sweden allow people who work in elderly care to provide care to their relatives, despite the risks of nepotism and fraud, the Swedish Radio programme "I lagens namn", or In the name of the law, reports.

"I think we've been pretty naive about this phenomenon", says Marin Andreae, mayor in the city of Södertälje, where earlier this year 34 people working for a privately-owned elderly care company stood on trial for trying to cheat the Social Insurance Agency out of a combined SEK 29 million by exaggerating the illnesses and disabilities of many of its clients.

According to Chief Investigator Kristina Lindhoff Carlesson, some of the staff working for the company had gotten their elderly relatives to lie about their conditions so that the municipality would pay the company for care that they did not actually need.

"We consider this a central part of their scheme," Lindhoff Carlesson tells Swedish Radio.

But despite risks like these, 84 municipalities in Sweden allow people who work in elderly care to provide care to their relatives, according to a survey that the Swedish Radio programme conducted.

In the municipality of Örebro, however, the issue is being reviewed, says Rasmus Persson, head of the local Social Welfare Department.

"If we find that this is in fact a problem in Örebro, we will change our current regulations," Persson says.