Financial distress in healthcare: elderly care in various countries

At the end of 2023, our Public Sector industry group conducted a benchmark desktop study, Financial distress in healthcare: elderly care in various countries, with input from 14 countries around the globe. The study indicated that financial challenges in elderly care persist in the vast majority of countries, a trend expected to continue in 2024.


International perspective

To further investigate this troubling situation, we have researched the figures of aged care facilities in 14 countries. Care systems and funding vary from country to country, with the Netherlands for instance spending the most relatively on long-term care for the elderly, as a percentage of GDP (over 2.5%) and scoring highly in terms of ageing and the number of inpatient beds per 1,000 inhabitants aged 65 years and older.

It is also striking that in the vast majority of countries, care for the elderly is struggling financially. Increasing life expectancy, rising costs and government cutbacks are partly to blame for this. This may offer some comfort to institutions, but it does not solve the problem. We see several actions being taken internationally to address these issues:
  • Investments in technological innovations, mostly focused on monitoring systems, data exchange and communication between healthcare professionals and patients.
  • Implementation of better staffing and scheduling/scheduling systems, also to reduce the risk of staff burnout.
  • Prioritising investment and financing. Allocating funding to critical projects related to business continuity and determining which investments can be postponed or cancelled.
  • Minimising revenue loss by optimising systems, processes, and efficient operations.
  • Exploring real estate mergers, acquisitions, and consolidation to improve long-term financial stability and performance.

Many initiatives are also initiated by governments, especially in the field of technological innovations (subsidy opportunities) and the creation of conditions to be able to live at home longer. Informal care is often mentioned in this context, but internationally there is still a lot of room for improvement with this concept. Interestingly, several countries are experimenting the concept of paid caregiving.
In short, elderly care faces financial challenges internationally. This is not a reason to resign ourselves to this situation, but rather to look beyond our usual solutions and find new ones, including those from other countries.
Financial distress in healthcare - elderly care