Posts Tagged ‘Old age’

Degradation of the elderly in Sweden’s privatised care system

November 11, 2011

The greatest fear I have of getting old is not so much the pain or suffering or sickness or debilitation but the degradation one may have to undergo.

I have always perceived the care of the elderly (and children) in Sweden as being perhaps the most compassionate and advanced in the world – especially the care from the public sector. The best care anywhere in the world is no doubt when it happens – and it does not always happen – within the family environment. In times past it was the care of the elderly within extended family groups, where up to 4 generations lived together, which probably provided the best care possible. But as family groups have become smaller, the wherewithal for the best geriatric care possible has shifted to institutions.

But recent events within the Swedish system where the public sector has been outsourcing geriatric care to private enterprise are not pretty. ┬áIn the chase for profit margins the level of degradation being meted out seems to have increased. The equation is no longer “the best care possible at the lowest allowable cost” and it seems instead to have become “not more than the cost absolutely necessary to avoid public complaints”. And in this new equation the level of degradation that the elderly are subjected to carries no weight. And the degradation is of relevance only if it leads to noisy complaints from others.

Something is not quite right and and it only reinforces my equating ageing with degradation.

The case of the private care company Carema has been the subject of a series of investigative articles by Dagens Nyheter and the latest episode of weighing diapers is not only degrading to the elderly patients but also, I think, for those being forced to implement Carema’s profit objectives:

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