Demographic information (Statistics Finland)

  • Inhabitants: 5,375 276
  • No. of citizens 65+: 941,041
  • No. of citizens 75+: 435,549
  • No. of people with long-term care needs: n/a

Characteristics of health, social and long-term care delivery

In Finland, the municipalities, i.e. 336 local authorities, have a legislative responsibility to arrange health and social services for their citizens including  specialist care, primary care and dental care, provide child day-care, welfare for the aged and the disabled and a wide range of other social services (The Primary Health Care Act 66, 1972; The Status and Right of Social Welfare Clients 812, 2000). The municipalities can provide services to residents in different ways.  A municipality might provide the services itself or together with other municipalities. Municipalities often set up a joint municipal authority to establish co-operation on a more permanent basis. In addition, a municipality could purchase the services from private service providers (profit, non-profit) or give the client a service voucher, which can be used to acquire services from the private sector. The client can then select the service provider from a list of service providers approved by the municipality. The funding for long-term care has primarily been the responsibility of the municipalities. The Government (state) participates in the funding by paying a state subsidy to the municipalities. Client fees are paid by the service users themselves.

Specialist services (in- and out-patient care) are provided by 20 hospital districts. Each municipality is a member of a hospital-district joint authority, which is responsible for organising specialised medical and hospital (secondary and tertiary level) treatment in its own district. In primary care, ooutpatient clinics or offices in the health centers are open for everyone. "Assisted living" or "sheltered housing" services represent a large variety of accommodation models for persons who wish to move to houses or apartments where they can receive help and services according to their need, and where it is possible to stay for the rest of their lives. The residents in these houses vary from recently retired and well-off to quite severely disabled persons. Some of them receive temporary or regular home care services from the community, other houses have permanent staffing. "Regular home care" signifies regular visits from social welfare and / or health care professionals who provide nursing services and assistance in everyday activities for sick or disabled elderly living at home. It can also include support services such as meals-on-wheels, and transfer services. Home care services are provided by home help units (under social welfare services of the municipalities) and home nursing units (under health care services) either separately or together as a unified home help and home nursing unit.

Background information on key-issues

Quality assurance and quality management in LTC

Quality management of long-term care is an issue that reaches from the individual to the national level. Several acts in the Finnish legislation support the achievement of good quality care. Apart from national level, municipality level (local), organisation/service level and patient level can be distinguished. As a way of steering of public services, also health care, Finland has moved from steering through norms to mainly steering through information (more ...)

Governance and financing of LTC

In Finland long-term care for older people is provided in four major settings: home care; sheltered housing; residential homes; and health centre inpatient wards. In 2008 about 90% of those aged 75+ lived at home either independently or assisted; 11% received regular home care and 4% received informal home care allowance. Of the institutionalized elderly population 4% lived in 24-hour sheltered housing, 4% in residential homes and 2% were treated in long-term care of health centre inpatient wards (more ...)