There seems to be a positive development in the legislation that until now has made the future uncertain for e-care and e-health in Slovenia. The long-term care act, which was presented and open for public hearing in August 2020 did not include these solutions. Politicians are now revisiting the legislation and ITHACA partners at the University of Ljubljana are carefully optimistic.
- The final proposal has not yet been introduced, but the political atmosphere suggests that e-care and e-health services for care recipients will be included and thus co-financed by the state, so we are hopeful, says MSc Lea Lebar.
After learning that e-care and e-health services were not included in the legislation, the University of Ljubljana prepared a formal reply and enclosed research from their project evaluation and information on good practice from the EEPE in Liverpool, where stakeholders from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Family and Equal Opportunities visited.
Up to half of the equipment financed
For the past 20 years, politicians and other stakeholders have been struggling to adopt a single law on long-term care that would strengthen community care, emphasize deinstitutionalization, and regulate all benefits and services in one place. One of the important subjects is new technologies such as e-care and e-health service.
If e-care and e-health are included in long-term care legislation, it would mean that end users can have these solutions co-funded by the government. There has been a lot of proposals on the table, among others one from 2017 on up to 150 euros per year. Since the monthly rent of devices is approximately 20 to 30 euros, this proposal would finance about half.
- Especially in times of COVID19 it is quite vital that we have e-healthcare solutions. Patients must stay at home, but the healthcare system is getting quite busy. Therefore, it is quite vital that we have solutions where patients do not have to be present at the hospitals, says Lea Lebar.
There is no official data on how many recipients are currently using use e-care or e-health services in Slovenia, but it is estimated to be a privilege for the few.
End-user satisfaction high
If e-care and e-health are included in the legislation, it is promising news for users and formal as well as informal carers. The University of Ljubljana has the role of evaluators of the services which were tested on three different locations in Slovenia. The final results of the evaluation have not been made public yet, but initial results indicate high end-user satisfaction with the services.
- Unfortunately, we can only talk very general about the results because of our contract with the government. I can only say that the first project was quite a success, says Lea Lebar.
Recently, the university once again applied for and got the role of the evaluator in a new project where e-care and e-health solutions will be tested on five additional locations. This is both e-care products such as fall detectors and the SOS-button and e-health services more related to measuring vital functions.