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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2009): Care of the elderly - overseas

Care regimes and national employment models

A. Simonazzi

Cambridge Journal of Economics, vol. 33, 2009, p. 211-232

Rapid population ageing has dramatically increased the social and economic costs of care of older people. In order to control costs, all countries are moving towards a model which combines care in the home, private provision and cash transfers. Demand for care labour is increasing rapidly worldwide, and all countries are experiencing problems recruiting enough workers. In some countries, the shortfall has been covered by a large inflow of migrant labour. This paper argues that the way in which care is provided and funded gives rise to considerable difference in the creation of a formal market. State provision in kind and regulated cash benefits are most effective in creating a formal market in care services. Conversely, unconditional cash allowances slow the creation of a formal market and encourage supply of informal care by family members or carers hired by the family. It is additionally argued that national employment models also affect the care services market and influence the quantity and quality of the care labour supply, the extent of the care labour shortage, and the degree of dependence on migrant carers.

Information issues for providers of services to people living with dementia in the community in Australia: breaking the cycle of frustration

A. Robinson and others

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol. 17, 2009, p. 141-150

In Australia, dementia has attained national health priority status and governments at all levels have implemented service strategies to help manage the complex lives of victims. Despite recognition that information is pivotal to effective dementia service delivery, little is known about the information needs of providers and the processes used to transfer information between them. This qualitative study used focus groups to scope the information issues for key dementia service providers in Tasmania, including information needs, availability and transfer. Participants were adamant that electronic databases and single points of entry to dementia services were essential to service coordination and should be developed.

Mechanisms behind privatization: a case study of private growth in Swedish elderly care

R. Stolt and U. Winblad

Social Science and Medicine, vol. 68, 2009, p.903-911

In the past 20 years, capitalistic welfare states have been characterised by an increasing involvement of private entrepreneurs in the public sector. This article addresses the mechanisms behind the spread of privatisation using the Swedish elderly care system as a case study. The ongoing privatisation of the municipal elderly care system in Sweden is a local phenomenon with wide discrepancies between different local authorities and geographical areas. Private alternatives were initially a unique metropolitan phenomenon, which gradually spread first into adjacent suburbs and then into the countryside. Right wing municipalities tend to introduce private alternatives irrespective of the economic situation. Left wing municipalities on the other hand introduce privatisation due to economic problems or to influences from a neighbour which already has a high share of private elderly care.

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