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Press release by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities
New quality recommendation to support good health and functional capacity of older population

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 26.6.2017 15.10
Press release 93/2017

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities issued a new quality recommendation to guarantee a good quality of life and improved services for older persons. The new quality recommendation encourages to build an economically and socially sustainable service system and to guarantee, as much as possible, the good health and functional capacity of the older population. The quality recommendation will remain in force until the end of 2019.

The new quality recommendation emphasises five thematic areas and gives recommendations for each of them.  The thematic areas deal with guaranteeing functional capacity of older people, arranging service counselling for clients, personnel of the services, structure of age-friendly services, and technology. 

The quality recommendation takes into account the changes in the operational environment and the objectives of the Government Programme and the general government fiscal plan. In accordance with the Government’ policy outlines, deciding on staffing levels will be uniformed in order to reach the same requirements both in public and private services. In addition, the personnel participating in the care of older people will be included in the staffing levels on more flexible grounds than before. The number and structure of personnel can be flexible in order to meet the needs of the clients. However, there must be an adequate number of skilled personnel available to guarantee safe and high-quality services for older people. The personnel structure will focus on healthcare and social welfare professionals in the future too, and other occupational groups will support their work.

New technologies will be used more commonly in all sectors in the future. Automation, robotics and other kinds of new technologies can be used in services for older people to support self-management of health and the work of family caregivers and as part of the personnel’s work tasks and administrative and organisational duties. The starting point must be to support and enhance the self-determination and independent initiative of older people, to improve the services and to develop and strengthen the work of the personnel.

Most older people do not need regular health and social services. However, many diseases and functional limitations tend to increase with age. The oldest age groups are growing, which increases the need for services. The growing need for services can be controlled by systematic proactive measures described in the quality recommendation. The quality recommendation also emphasises service counselling to clients as a model that provides older people and their families with advice and support for making decisions and for applying for benefits and services.

An age-friendly service structure will combine housing and services in a new way. The objective is to offer the older population better chances of living at home, to anticipate future housing and service needs and to ensure a home-like environment for those who need care around the clock. This requires investments in the promotion of healthy and capable ageing and in offering more rehabilitation and different types of rehabilitation.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities have issued their earlier quality recommendations on services for older people in 2001, 2008 and 2013. This year’s recommendation (2017) will replace the earlier versions. Like its predecessors, the recommendation is primarily intended to support municipalities’ and the new counties’ decision-makers and leaders in the reform and evaluation of services. The quality recommendation will support the implementation of the so-called Act on Care Services for Older Persons. Besides the Act and the quality recommendation, a Government key project offers a new form of direction. The key project focuses on development of home care for older people and enhancement of informal care in all age groups.


Satu Karppanen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 549
Kirsi Varhila, Director-General, tel. +358 295 163 338
Tarja Myllärinen, Director, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, tel. +358 9 771 2602


Quality recommendation to guarantee a good quality of life and improved services for older persons 2017–2019 (Publications 2017:6) (in Finnish)

Other sources

Key project: Home care for older people will be developed and informal care enhanced in all age groups (in Finnish)

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