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THL: 3,400 additional nurses needed by spring for elderly care

Elderly care facilities are struggling with finding workers to provide the round-the-clock care required by law.

THL estimates that some 51,000 clients were in need of 24-hour work in May 2022. Image: Sampo Saikkonen / Yle
Yle News

Finland is some 3,400 nurses short if it is to reach the statutory elderly care quota by next spring, according to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

New legislation has gradually been raising the quota, with the aim to reach the ratio of at least 0.7 nurses per customer in April.

That same figure was 0.6 nurses per customer at the turn of the year. According to THL's measurements, some 89 percent of the legally required quota had been reached in May.

"The increase in staffing has been achieved by recruiting 900 care assistants for round-the-clock care and by increasing the share of work performed by existing nurses. The number of nurses and nurses had not increased at all during the year," THL's elderly care expert Sari Kehusmaa says.

The institute's latest findings estimate that at least one more year would be needed to reach the legally required number of carers by spring.

"Based on the monitoring, we can say that additional time is needed to increase the ratio to 0.7, because the recruitment of practical nurses and general nurses has not been successful. The extension should be at least one year, so that the availability of caregivers can be improved, for example by increasing training spots," Kehusmaa adds.

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