At present, elder care legislation does not mandate a minimum ratio of caregivers. There is only an official recommendation, which states that there should be at least one caregiver for two residents.
In an interview with Yle on Tuesday, Guzenina-Richardson suggested going further than that and fixing the legally binding minimum at seven caregivers per 10 elderly. This would change the current set-up from a recommended 0.5 caregivers per person to a legally required 0.7.
Nursing homes have, at the moment, an average of just above six caregivers per 10 residents.
Budget talks ongoing
The minister wants the new requirements to be valid throughout the country, with no regional variation.
“According to my suggestion, the binding personnel ratio would come into force nation-wide on July 1, 2013, at the same time as the [new] elder care law,” Guzenina-Richardson said.
While negotiating next year’s budget with the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has asked for additional funds of 36 million euros. Elder care facilities would benefit from some of this sum, while a part would go towards supporting home care.
The government will consider the budget at the end of August.
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