The need for improved knowledge
The Swedish public system of care for elderly persons will be subject to severe challenges in the coming decades due to demographic developments and economic constraints. It becomes ever more important, that scarce resources are used in an optimal way securing that the right persons get the right care in the right way. A crucial factor in the pursuit of this goal is the development of improved knowledge about the care needs of the elderly and how they develop as well as understanding of the functioning of the elderly care system at present and forwards.
Deficiencies in current elderly research and official statistics concerning the needs of elderly persons and the system of care services
In order to monitor and analyse how needs of care develop in connection to aging there is a need for longitudinal studies that follow persons over time. There is also a need to follow on the level of the individual how needs are met, the interplay between health and social care services, how resources are used and which result they give.
At present most of the information about the functioning of the system of long-term care for the elderly is provided by cross-sectional statistics and studies directed towards different parts of the system. The official statistics cannot answer the fundamental question of how resources are allocated according to needs.
Also most current research studies concerning the elderly are cross-sectional. Studies of the system of long-term care relate as general only to a part of the system and are based upon an organisational perspective. The possibilities to use this information for analysing how needs develop from a broad perspective and how they are met are very limited.
There is thus a need for individual-based longitudinal studies, that describe the ageing process from different aspects - the development of health, functional and cognitive ability, social and economic situation etc. - and that encompass the care system as a whole including all levels and forms of long-term care, geriatric as well as social, public as well as private or voluntary and formal as well as informal.
Two parts: Population and care services system
The study design, which is described in more detail below, builds upon the joining of two perspectives: The population perspective and The care system perspective.
In the population part of the SNAC-study a large, representative panel of elderly in different age cohorts from 60 years and above is followed over time in order to record the development of personal characteristics as well as social and economic circumstances.
In the care system perspective there is a systematic, longitudinal, individually based collection of data concerning the operations of the long-term care system - volume and character of services provided in relation to needs and dependency, costs, staff input etc.
Link: Read more - Care System