Health systems and long-term care for older persons in Europe: Modelling the INTERfaces and LINKS between prevention, rehabilitation, quality of services and informal care


Michel Naïditch (Irdes), Laure Com-Ruelle (Irdes)

Project implementation period: November 2008 - December 31st, 2011


In response to the Second Call of the EU Commission's Seventh Framework Program in Health Research, the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research's website submitted a research proposal in 2007, with Kai Leischering as project leader. This project involving 16 research centers and universities from 14 European Member States was accepted in September 2008.

Project objectives

The objective of this 3-year project is to build and validate a model describing, comparing and analyzing long-term care (LTC) systems for older people from a European perspective. Based on the assumption that LTC systems in Europe have only started to gain significance within each country's welfare state, the project aims at elaborating concepts, indicators and models for policies and practices that address not only issues of both gaps and links at different levels between the health and social system on one hand and the LTC system on the other; but also those existing between the formal and the informal sectors. Based on this perspective, the specific features of the different emerging national LTC models set up in Europe will be compared using a common framework; but also by examining the organization, governance and financing of LTC services as well as incentives for prevention and rehabilitation, quality measurement and support for informal carers.

Good practice determinants will be identified and validated across countries to serve as a tool to enhance structures, processes and outcomes of LTC systems. A European non-normative ‘state of the art' model, describing and analyzing long-term care provision will be constructed as an analytical toolbox that takes into account pathways of reform policies at any developmental stage of a national LTC system. It will integrate the professional and the non-professional domains with inputs from a wide range of stakeholders by means of national expert panels to validate national descriptions, and of European-level Sounding Board Conferences for European overviews and the model. The project final outcome is to substantially broaden the knowledge base of LTC systems of each European country in regard to the others; and also to use the model, which allow for comparisons, in order to guide organizational analysis of national systems but also to help policies to design and organize their further development. A dedicated website will present the model and the practices examples in an interactive way which will allow all interested stakeholders to post their comments and inputs.

Project developement state after 26 months (November 2008 - January 2011)

The project has been carried out by a consortium of 17 partners from universities and research institutes, with an international and interdisciplinary expertise also in cross-national research. The consortium represents 14 Member States covering different welfare regimes and geographical domains to allow for the regional and LTC developmental, path-dependent differences to be addressed.

An executive team (SMT) with M. Naiditch membership and led by K. Leischering (Project leader) and J. Billings (Scientific leader) organized the different steps with respect to the research program. Partners have already met four times, each meeting initiating the following steps. The program was organized around Work packages (WPs), four of them related to building blocks for the model building process: Prevention and rehabilitation; Quality (Irdes); Informal care (Irdes); Governance and financing (Irdes). Each WP led to national reports as well as to European overviews published within the first 18 months. Different theoretical papers were produced in order to build the model describing LTC systems which is about to be finalized. A framework describing good practices examples has been designed with already 40 completed examples. The website (first alpha version) was launched in January, it should be in experimental use by June 2011.

The yet finalised product can be accessed via the following link:

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