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Long-term care in Europe: Socio-economic inequity in utilization of formal and informal care services

The use of both formal (home-based care services) and informal care across Europe is unequally distributed among income groups, with poorer individuals using significantly more long-term care. In the case of home-based care, differences in utilization basically reflect differences in needs: less affluent older people have, on average, poorer health. Only in Denmark and Estonia (both pro-poor) and Italy and Spain (both pro-rich) is the distribution of home care use inequitably distributed across income groups. For informal care, however, there is strong evidence (9 out of the 15 countries considered) that poorer older people disproportionately use this type of care even after accounting for different needs. This may suggest financial barriers in accessing home care services. Detailed results and a discussion of policy implications can be found in the original research articles by Ricardo Rodrigues and Stefania Ilinca (and Andrea E. Schmidt) in EuroHealth, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and Health Economics.

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