The responsibility of caring for the elderly is increasingly transferred from society to families. Emergency rooms remain crowded.
Distress call heard this time from Jyväskylä. Nova hospital appealed to the management of the welfare region of Central Finland in order to solve the congestion in the emergency room.
According to the staff, the situation is catastrophic.
“… we could save two or three out of ten dead people if the department wasn’t so overloaded”, described an emergency doctor recently In the case of HS.
Getting stuck in the emergency room can quickly turn fatal for frail elderly people. The emergency room is intended for a short-term stay. You can’t get warm food there, and not necessarily all the medicines that are part of normal everyday life.
Intermittent congestion in emergency departments has been proven in Finland for a long time. They are an overflow valve that reveals the dysfunction of the structure.
From Jyväskylä at the hospital’s address, the staff needed more follow-up care places for elderly services and assisted living. The appeal is understandable, but there does not seem to be a turn towards increasing the number of places.
The opposite is happening. Welfare districts around the country have announced that they will radically reduce places for elderly care.
A new term has been coined in the pressure to save: communal living.
Because there is no money and no personnel, even fewer Finns receive round-the-clock care in the last years of their lives under the notice of social and healthcare professionals.
The wards have been closed down one after the other in recent months. The 24-hour units are next to be closed.
Under austerity pressures a new term has been invented: communal living. It means a housing unit for the elderly, where everyone has their own apartment.
If the 24-hour unit becomes communal, there will no longer be nursing staff there at night.
Nursing staff may not be there during the day either. Communal housing can be arranged so that nurses only make visits like home care.
Department of Health and Welfare has evaluated, that it is necessary to move to communal housing. Otherwise, there are no care places for the growing elderly population.
Now we are looking for ways to house the frail elderly without staff.
Only a few years ago, Finland experienced a care crisis, where the too small number of personnel in private care homes was horrified.
Staff sizing was tightened, but in practice it is never surprising. There is nowhere to hire nurses.
The problems quickly changed. Now we are looking for ways to house the frail elderly without staff.
Väestöliitto recently recalled a new one The family barometer in connection with the fact that “the end of aging” is just beginning in Finland. About 160,000 Finns have now reached the age of 85, but the number is predicted to grow by up to a hundred thousand over the next ten years.
At the same time, the number of people with memory problems is increasing. Now there are at least 200,000 of them, and there are at least 15,000 new patients every year. Memory disease is the most common reason that an old person needs long-term care.
The elderly should not automatically be assumed to be disabled but elderly adults who want to live in their home until the end – if only their health is sufficient.
Most often, one ends up in assisted living for the last couple of years of life. About 5–10 percent of people over 75 are covered. To this percentage, the welfare regions have now drawn up tough reduction plans.
The responsibility is shifting more and more from society to families. The plan is to increase home care, remote services and mobile units, but the model will not work without the growing contribution of relatives.
If the state withdraws from its responsibility to help due to a lack of money, a return to the old ways is inevitable.
Before the formation of welfare states, the family offered security in case of old age. If the state withdraws from its responsibility to help due to a lack of money, a return to the old ways is inevitable.
In Finland, adult children do not have the legal obligation to take care of their aging parents. Only rarely do grandma and father live under the same roof with their adult children.
We are Nordic in our thinking. In southern European countries, the role of the family in elderly care has been more central.
Society takes responsibility in exchange for tax payment – this has been thought in Finland for a long time. However, it has not meant that the generations have not helped each other as needed.
In response, this need to help increases. At the same time, public opinion is changing in a southern European direction: the responsibility lies with the family.
How about emergency rooms, do they remain crowded?
Relief has been requested from mobile services. In them, acute medical care is brought to the elderly at home, so that there is no need to go to the emergency room at all.
However, mobile services do not completely eliminate emergency room congestion. More addresses and petitions will surely be drawn up in the future.