Credit: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Municipalities promise care for elderly but fail to deliver

3:09 min

The Health and Social Care Inspectorate says more often municipalities are promising care services like placements in full-care homes for the elderly but not delivering.

Municipalities are required to report so-called "unfulfilled decisions," as for example when a permanent full-care accomodation is granted but not fulfilled within three months of the decision. Swedish Radio News reported that the Health and Social Care Inspectorate, which oversees eldercare, even collects a fee if the decision isn't honored after six months.

Despite that, the inspectorate says the number of unfulfilled care services grew by 42 percent, or by 1,600 cases, between 2013 and 2015.

Västerås, a small city 100 km west of Stockholm, has 102 offers for full-care home placements that have gone unfulfilled. Erika Barreby who works for Social Services Department for Västerås city explained to Swedish Radio's local channel in Västerås that the high number of unfulfilled placements can have something to do with the waiting line for eldercare facilities, which includes people who were offered accomodation but who refused.

"In Västerås, if you get a decision for a placement in a special accomodation and say 'no,' then you remain in line. We have a lot of people who say 'no' to the offer they get because they might rather live in another part of the city or another building. And so they wait instead," she said.

Västerås is also seeing more applications for such special accomodations.

"We've seen an increase between 2014 and 2015, and it's been pretty big. Previously, we had around 500 decisions per year. But in 2015 it was closer to 1,100," said Barreby.

She said more residences were needed for Västerås to handle the increased numbers.

"Partly we need more homes for the elderly, and there is a plan for expansion during the coming years. That plan is designed according to the demographic conditions we have. But we have also seen that we have an increase in applications," said Barreby.

Anna-Karin Nyqvist, from the Health and Social Care Inspectorate, told Radio Sweden that the statistic can mean different things depending on the municipality. But she said that all municipalities should have a plan to provide care services to elderly persons who need it.

"They need to plan for elderly care and build as many nursing homes as they think they will need in the future," she said.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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