A new Technical Report has been published by the International Social Security Association (ISSA) that focuses on Long-term care: Global efforts and international attention from the health perspective. The report was presented at an ISSA webinar hosted on 16 September 2021 with speakers from the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The report highlights the current approaches taken by international health organizations related to long-term care (LTC) support for an ageing population. It will inform the production of future ISSA Guidelines on LTC.
Population ageing is a major global trend that affects all countries, putting LTC at the top of the agenda for social security systems. Despite the growing attention and activities carried out in the area by international organizations, social security and health institutions, it is noticeable that putting LTC services into practice continues to be difficult due to the large number of issues at stake, limited regulatory frameworks or insufficient political will.
Meeting the LTC challenges requires social security institutions to develop tailored responses based on improved coordination while jurisdictions and service providers’ roles have to be clarified at the national level. Even more important is the need to strengthen prevention and health promotion, rehabilitation, ageing in place strategies and the innovative use of technologies.
The ISSA Project on LTC takes into consideration its multidisciplinary nature, which obliges stakeholder to consider the topic from different perspectives, notably health, actuarial, pensions and mutual benefit societies, to list a few. Several ISSA Technical Commissions are contributing actively to the discussions exploring challenges and innovative solutions in the different areas.To support its members in addressing the urgent LTC challenges, the ISSA has assembled expertise from different perspectives, leading to a potential groundwork for future ISSA Guidelines on LTC.
The report Long-term care: Global efforts and international attention from the health perspective was commented on by Lou Tessier, Health Protection Specialist, Social Protection Department, International Labour Office (ILO): “This report from the ISSA is extremely timely as the International Labour Conference in June 2021 called social protection systems to address the growing need for long-term care. The report highlights the complexity of long-term care, its inter-sectorial nature and the corollary need to coordinate complementary approaches to support ageing in dignity as well as promote healthy ageing throughout the life course. We at the International Labour Organization look forward to working further together on this ambitious agenda”.
International organizations working on LTC are confronted by several challenges. Hyobum Jang, Technical Officer, Ageing and Health Unit, WHO, stated: “This report successfully covers how different international agencies and actors have been recently working on the issues long-term care, specifically focusing on health perspectives among complex nature of LTC in countries. This report can be a good companion to navigate through available literature and resources, and understand the various efforts to research and advocate the long-term care perspective in health.”
This was supported by other international standard-setting organizations. Eileen Rocard, Junior Health Analyst, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD, expressed: “In their new report, the International Social Security Association has shed light on the complementary approaches taken by international organizations to address LTC challenges. We at the OECD look forward to working toward solutions, together with other international organizations.”
The series of webinars and exchange opportunities was organised by the ISSA General Secretariat, with a view to assembling feedback from ISSA member organizations. This will contribute to improving and developing approaches to LTC for older people, tackling the issues on ageing and LTC, and addressing how to share innovative strategies to address the challenges.