Demographic information (Statistik Austria)
- Inhabitants: 8,363,040
- No. of citizens >65: 1,387,559
- No. of citizens >75: 615,266
- No. of people with long-term care needs: about 430,000
Characteristics of health, social and long-term care
Austria is a federal state with nine regions. While the federal government is responsible for health care and general social insurance matters, the regions are responsible for social assistance and thus also for long-term care services and facilities. However, since 1993 when a comprehensive LTC allowance scheme was introduced, the Federal State has ensured its financing through general taxes, while the regions remain with the task of further developing the network of services and residential facilities.In spite of the general responsibility for health at the federal level, the Austrian health care system is also influenced by the federal structure of the country and by the delegation of competencies to self-governing stakeholders in the social health insurance system. Furthermore, multi-stakeholder structures at federal and regional level are responsible for cooperative planning, coordination and financing. About 99% of the population are covered by the social health insurance.
Download here an illustration of possible LTC pathways for Mrs. L.T. Care in the region of Vienna.
Background information on key-issues
The health status of older people is an important determinant in shaping the demand for long-term care. While health conditions deteriorate with age, the age group of 75-80 seems to mark the point from which prevalence of dementia and severe activity restrictions increases sharply, making the age group of the 80+ the most likely to have long-term care needs (Huber et al., 2009). According to existing studies on prevalence of dementia in Europe (Alzheimer Europe, 2006; Ferri et al., 2005), the share of the population affected by dementia in Austria has increased but it is in line with the EU average, totalling an estimated 94,000 to 104,000 people with Dementia in 2005. As for activity restrictions, the older age groups are also those with an increased share of people reporting severe activity restrictions, although these problems are much more likely to respond to adequate prevention and rehabilitation in earlier stages of life. In any case, women seem to have lower health conditions than men in their later stages of life (more …)
Over the past decade, the quest for quality has gained momentum in the realm of the emerging Austrian LTC system. Following the introduction of the comprehensive LTC Allowance in 1993 it became obvious that both providers and purchasers of services had to search for mechanisms to define, monitor and ensure the quality of what they provided and purchased, respectively. However, the federal constitution, the arbitrary but strict division between health and social care (Ganner, 2008), the small size of municipalities and the long tradition of private non-profit providers, which are either affiliated to the political parties or religious organizations, continue to produce a mixed bag of regulations and standards throughout the country (more …)
Austria was one of the first countries in Europe to establish a comprehensive universal attendance allowance (Pflegegeld) scheme as the main instrument to address long-term care needs of individuals, in 1993. Presently it is one of the countries in Europe with the highest share of older people receiving attendance allowances (Huber et al., 2009). To understand the option to rely on such an innovative approach (at that time) it is necessary to look at the factors that shaped this decision, as they continue to greatly influence the financing and governance of long-term care in Austria to this date (more …)