Vanhuspalvelulailla turvataan laadukkaita palveluita iäkkäille koko maassa

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 8.11.2012 11.28
Press release -

The Government has adopted a Bill for an Act intended to ensure that elderly people will receive care and treatment according to their individual needs and on an equal basis nationwide through high-quality social welfare and health care services. The Act will specify the responsibilities of local authorities and guarantee better availability of necessary services for elderly people, among other things.

The Government submitted the Bill to Parliament on Thursday 8 November, and if enacted, the Act is intended to enter into force on 1 July 2013.

The Act will apply to population members of pensionable age and aged persons whose functional capacity has markedly weakened with age, due to the onset or worsening of a disease or a deterioration in condition.

Home services take precedence, spouses to be offered cohabitation in long-term care

The Act will give precedence to services provided at home. Institutional long-term care will only be considered if medically justified. Permanence of care arrangements must be ensured.

Persons in long-term care need to be provided with opportunities for social interaction and feasible activities. Elderly couples, whether married or not, will have to be offered the option of cohabitation in long-term care.

Service needs to be evaluated comprehensively and without delay

The Act will guarantee elderly persons theright to a comprehensive evaluation of service needs without delay. The evaluation will then be used to draw up an individual service plan. Options must be discussed with the elderly persons themselves, and their opinions must be recorded.

A case worker must be assigned to each elderly person in case they need help with the implementation and coordination of services.

Social welfare services must be provided without delay in urgent cases and within three months of a decision in other cases.

Services for the elderly to be planned in more detail by local authorities

The purpose of the Act is to ensure that local authorities prepare for the forthcoming increase in the demand for services. More precise responsibilities will be outlined for municipal planning so that local services will cater better to the ageing of the population, to supporting the functional capacity of the elderly and to ensuring a high standard of service quality.

Local authorities will be required to draw up for each electoral period a plan for supporting the wellbeing of the ageing population and the availability of social welfare and health care services for the elderly. Moreover, the sufficiency and quality of the services will have to be evaluated on an annual basis. Local authorities must allocate sufficient resources to the support of wellbeing and the providing of services.

It is proposed that councils of the elderly be provided for by law. Each local authority will then be obliged to consult the local council of the elderly in the planning, preparation and monitoring of any activities concerning elderly local residents.

Quality of services provided by operating units ensured through monitoring

The Act will also provide for a standard of quality for services for the elderly provided by operating units. The number of personnel and their qualifications and job duties must be consistent with the number of elderly persons being provided services by the operating unit and the level of service that their functional capacity requires. The number of personnel and their qualification requirements may be provided for in more detail by decree.

The Bill proposes that operating units must engage in self-monitoring in order to maintain and further develop the quality of their services. Self-monitoring will involve obtaining regular feedback from operating unit employees.

Further information

Ministerial Counsellor, Social Affairs, Päivi Voutilainen, tel +358 (0)295 163 403
Ministerial Counsellor, Legal Affairs, Riitta Kuusisto, tel. +358 (0)295 163 401