Last week the Paul Schiller Foundation published the report “Gute Betreuung im Alter – Perspektiven für die Schweiz” (‘Good Care in Old Age – Perspectives for Switzerland’). It shows the need for action in health and social policy for high quality and affordable care for the ageing.
A few weeks before I noticed an article in a regional news paper about the enormous value of volunteer work in Switzerland, an estimated CHF 35 billion. “The majority of informal volunteer work in 2014 is attributable to personal help and care… Personal assistance is the main occupation of informal volunteerism within family networks” (own translation from Freiwilligen-Monitor Schweiz 2016). I considered it to be a joke when I saw the published number of volunteer hours (665 million according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics: The applied hourly wage is CHF 52.60.
That is not bad for an informal caregiver; it makes my wage as a highly qualified nursing professional look bad.
The report, and the study that backs it, have hardly been mentioned by the news media. Daily assistance should be considered public service. The next all-you-can-eat buffet in the health care market should be financed through, among other suggestions, a fourth level of retirement plan, the regular welfare mechanisms, or the health insurance plans.
At a national level, I noticed two general reactions: The predictable outcry “Who will pay for that?” (describing the proposals as unrealistic or unthinkable) – and the strategic positioning of the main lobbyists “How big of a piece can I cut from that pie?”
Not a single word was wasted on thoughts that good care for the ageing could be implemented in ways other than through specialization and commercialization. It is my personal experience as a professional care giver that each minute of interaction must be accounted for by the minute and a specific tariff in order to work efficiently and economical. However, it is recognized in general that the human interaction is made difficult that way.
Therefore, it is suggested to replicate the same model used in medical services and nursing care, that does not bring the expected improvements to the national economies, and apply it to daily care and assistance. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
There are valuable conceptual hints for envisioning new models of caring in the report: Relationship building, integrative services, holistic approaches, support (not replacement) of family care givers, giving recognition.
I am glad to know that at the margins of our health and social services system there are people who do not have to wait for expert studies and national funding mechanisms to envision and implement true alternatives for taking good care of each other.
Hier geht es zum Beitrag in deutsch: Gute Betreuung im Alter