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Research news: Long-term care in sheltered housing has become general, but does not continue until the end of life

Sheltered housing with 24-hour assistance has replaced long-term care in residential homes. Residential homes and specially sheltered housing units are not able to care for old people until the end of life, but people are moved to other place of care before death.

Many old people had several transitions from care facility to another in the last year of life. Half of old people died in an inpatient department of health center. The second common place of death was general hospital and third common home.

Use of long-term care as a whole increased from 1998 to 2008. However, a majority of old people lived at home, and living in a care facility was more common only in the last three months of life. As the number of very old people will rapidly increase in the near future, also the need for long-term care will increase.

Comparing the costs of different care facilities is difficult, for their unit costs include different cost items. In addition the funding responsibilities differ between the services. When costs were calculated with fixed prices, the costs per user decreased in the study period.

Use and costs of long-term care in the last two years of life among people aged 70 years or over were studied. In addition was studied, to what extent old people are cared for in long-term care until the end of life. The study was carried out by Gerontology Research Center and School of Health Sciences and it was funded by the Foundation for Municipal Development.

The study population consisted of 316 639 people who died in 1998-2008. The data were derived from registers of Statistic Finland and National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The services studied were inpatient department of health center, if length of stay was 90 days or over, residential home and sheltered housing with 24-hour assistance.

Forma Leena, Jylhä Marja, Aaltonen Mari, Raitanen Jani and Rissanen Pekka (2012): The last years of old age – long-term care and transitions between care facilities. (Vanhuuden viimeiset vuodet – pitkäaikaishoito ja siirtymät hoitopaikkojen välillä). The Foundation for Municipal Development 69. Sastamala.

Further information:

Leena Forma, 040 190 1604,

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