Towards a rights-based approach in long-term care

Building an index of rights-based policies for older people in Europe


Magdi Birtha
Ricardo Rodrigues
Katharine Schulmann


Stefania Ilinca, Veronica Sandu, Eszter Z├│lyomi


People in older age groups occupy a growing share of the population in many European countries. Ensuring that all older people have the opportunity to continue to actively participate in society and that those with care needs have access to affordable, quality long-term care is therefore an important issue facing governments. In recent years, international, regional and national legal instruments have increasingly promoted a rights-based approach to enshrining the rights of older people in law—including the right to enjoy good health—and making sure that these rights are incorporated in policy and practice.


  • To develop a conceptual framework for a rights-based approach to long-term care that builds directly on the literature on rights for people with disabilities
  • To create an index that comprehensively captures a rights-based approach to long-term care by identifying and populating relevant policy domains and indicators in such a way as to make cross-country comparison and monitoring over time possible
  • To pilot the index by analysing and comparing the results for a select group of European countries


  • Literature review
  • Expert Workshop
  • Expert interviews
  • Delphi survey


  • Review of the state of the art on a human rights approach to care and support for older people
  • Expert workshop to validate review findings 
  • Framework for a rights-based approach
  • Conceptualisation of the index and guidelines for indicators
  • Calculated index and analysis for 12 countries
  • Time-varying indices and analysis
  • Final report

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