Quality and development of services for older people

Iloinen pariskunta

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities have issued a quality recommendation for services as a tool for developing and evaluating services for older people.

The aim of the quality recommendation is to guarantee a good quality of life and effective services for older people in an age-friendly society.

The recommendation contains guidelines for developing the service structure, housing and care environments, as well as staff numbers, skills and management.

The previous quality recommendations were issued in 2001, 2008, 2013 and 2017. 

The recommendation is intended primarily for decision-makers and managers in wellbeing services counties and municipalities as a tool for developing and evaluating services for older people. Providers of health and social services, professionals in the field and third-sector operators can also use the recommendation in their own activities.

The main contents of the quality recommendation are similar to those of the National Programme on Ageing.

Each content area has its own recommendations, and good practices have been proposed to be applied in municipalities to support the recommendations. The recommendations are targeted both at population level and at the individual level. The implementation of the recommendations is monitored nationally and locally.

Legislative reform supports service quality and increases equality

The first phase of the legislative reform on services for older people has gradually increased the minimum staffing level required in 24-hour care. Due to changes in the operating environment, the entry-into-force provision of the Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Services for Older Persons has been amended. The minimum staffing level will gradually increase so that 

  • from 1 April 2023, the minimum staffing level will be 0.65, and 
  • from 1 December 2028, the minimum staffing level will be 0.70 employees per client.

Provisions have also been added to the Act regarding the RAI assessment system used to assess the functional capacity and need for services of older people. Municipalities must start using the RAI system by 1 April 2023. The indicators to be deployed nationwide will increase equality and enable access to comparable information. 

The legislative reform of the second phase focuses on strengthening the quality and resources of home care and the reform of housing services. 

Second phase of the reform of services for older people

In the second phase, the reform of services for older people improves services provided at home and housing services in particular. For the most part, the reform entered into force on 1 January 2023 simultaneously with the structural reform of the organisation of health and social services. The amendments also apply to other client groups of social services. 

The first phase of the reform of services for older people specified the quality requirements for 24-hour care.

Further information

Satu Karppanen, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Communities and Functional Capacity / YTO, Functional Capacity Unit / TOK Telephone:0295163549   Email Address: