“This is a serious issue,” states Annika Saarikko (Centre), the Minister of Social Services and Family Affairs. (Credit: Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNISH GOVERNMENT has announced it has decided to initiate an overhaul of the act on elderly services before the end of the current electoral term.

Annika Saarikko (Centre), the Minister of Social Services and Family Affairs, stated on Tuesday that the ongoing public debate has drawn attention to worrying aspects of the state of elderly care in Finland.

“The treatment of elderly people is not in compliance everywhere with the values that define our actions and trust in the services has crumbled,” she highlighted in a press release.

“This is a serious issue. The public debate about the flaws has strengthened the impression that broad and thorough preparatory work is necessary to introduce common practices and solutions to elderly services,” added Saarikko.

One of the questions at the core of the debate is staff dimensioning. The National Coalition is currently the only party that has not expressed its support for introducing binding staffing requirements for nursing homes and residential care units across the country.

The Finnish act on elderly services currently only recommends that such facilities have one nurse for every two patients.

Saarikko on Tuesday said the sufficiency of the staffing guidelines will be weighed up as part of the legislative project.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health reported that additional resources will be allocated to supervising elderly care in the next supplementary budget. Pirkko Mattila (BR), the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, stressed that attention must also be paid to management, self-monitoring and procurement practices, as well as to the availability of reliable data on the quality of care and nursing.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi