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Social Protection Innovative Investment in Long Term Care

EU-funded project investigates the concept of social investment as applied to long-term care (LTC) provision.

As the working-age population shrinks and the retirement age expands, EU countries face the necessary yet demanding task of delivering affordable LTC that is of good quality in a period of severely constrained resources.

Understanding the objectives

The SPRINT project set out to help address the challenge of population ageing. “We aimed to elucidate how LTC can be located within the concept of social investment,” explains Alan Glanz, project coordinator.

To do this, it was important for the project to articulate the concept of social investment outlined in the European Commission’s Social Investment Package and accompanying Staff Working Document. Equally vital was the identification of opportunities and challenges surrounding social investment in LTC and the current landscape of its organisation and resourcing in Europe.

SPRINT also investigated perceptions of factors associated with successful social investment in LTC, and worked to develop methods and instruments for assessing the social costs and benefits of providing it. Finally, it set out key recommendations to maximise social benefits in LTC provision.

Towards a social investment approach

“The central policy message from SPRINT is that a social investment approach has considerable potential whereby decision-makers can improve the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of LTC systems across the EU,” outlines Glanz. This would help address the challenge of population ageing in an era of restricted resources.

SPRINT has outlined several measures that can be taken at EU and national levels to facilitate the implementation of such an approach. These include building a stronger evidence base to foster a greater understanding of the relationship between LTC services and their outcomes. Also, adapting legal and regulatory frameworks to maximise the potential benefits of the social investment approach. “Future reforms of the LTC legal and regularly frameworks should assess the scope for reducing rigidities in the LTC system,” says Glanz.

Stakeholder engagement is also necessary as their input should play a central role in determining the value of social investment. Furthermore, building a dedicated social investment infrastructure is needed. “A shared resource about assessment methodologies and evidence about opportunities for cost-effective investment in LTC would be of value to promote shared learning,” notes Glanz. Finally, applying and developing existing operational tools would help facilitate implementation.

In addition to identifying key initiatives, the project’s outputs include scientific papers on topics such as the landscape of LTC provision in EU countries and the value of social investment. “SPRINT has also produced an online tool for assessing investment decisions, an animation explaining principles of social investment in LTC, and a brochure setting out recommendations in six key areas for adoption in diverse welfare systems,” adds Glanz.

What’s next?

The project aims to maintain its website for 5 years after it has ended. "We envisage that the web portal will continue to be supported, as the Feasibility Framework Tool for Social Investment will remain available to researchers and decision-makers.”

Stakeholders will also have access to other research outputs. In the longer term, SPRINT expects to act as a springboard for further research in the area, by both members of the team and others working in the LTC area.

Reference source: Social Protection Innovative Investment in Long Term Care

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