Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Socio-economic evaluation report: It estimates costs of elder care by family carers, costs of support measures addressing their needs, cost-effectiveness

The aim of the Socio-Economic Evaluation report is to summarise the EUROFAMCARE project’s main findings with regard to following four issues:
- The direct and indirect costs of care for older family members;
- The costs of support measures for family carers;
- The cost-effectiveness of support measures with respect to the caregivers’ situation (cost-effectiveness analysis);
- The efficiency of support measures with respect to overall costs of care, i.e. to execute cost- benefit analyses of support measures on care arrangements and their respective costs.

To this purpose, the socio-economic evaluation has been based on a causal model underlain by three main relations:
Relation 1: “services for supporting family carers of older people reduce the caregivers burden” (A => B);

Relation 2: “A reduced caregivers burden changes utilisation patterns and reduces institutionalisation into nursing homes” (B => C);

Relation 3: “Less institutionalisation reduces overall expenses” (C => D).

The analysis of the available socio-politico-economic data of the project’s National Background Reports (NABAREs) have been used for a European synopsis showing cross-European differentials in socio-economic and politico-economic impact of dependency. Combined data from the NABAREs and the National Survey Reports (NASUREs) referring to public and private expenditure on elder care are analysed, taking into account, on the private side, both expenses for professional services and the value of real transfers.

The time spent on care has been also evaluated in terms of a shadow wage and reduction in work participation (objective a). At the same time, a European synopsis showing cross-European differentials in expenses for services for supporting family carers has been prepared (objective b). The cost-effectiveness analysis has followed the causal explanation model mentioned above, based on the scales used within the carers’ Common Assessment Tool (CAT) to measure the caregivers’ situation and trace back the influence of the support received. Using the NABAREs and NASUREs data, these effects have been put into relation to the costs of the respective measures (objective c). Cost-effectiveness analyses included the following steps. Expenditures for support measures have been calculated and, by means of techniques of multivariate data analysis, used to estimate the effect of certain measures on the care burden. By putting the information on costs and effects together, the effectiveness of each measure is calculated as the improvement in the caregivers’ situation (on the specific scales of Common Assessment Tool) per Euro. In order to execute cost-benefit analyses, the value of the improvements in the caregivers situation have been estimated. Savings resulted mainly from differences in utilisation of professional care.

The data generated by the follow up survey included a limited number of questions concerning
- The type of care provided after 12 months (particularly home and nursing home care);
- Retrospective data on critical life events happened during the observation window;
- Retrospective data about changes in type of care (particularly home and nursing home care) and utilisation of services (after NASUR).

Using information on the costs of different types of care, the savings for long-term care financing institutions resulting from services for supporting family carers have been calculated and related to their respective costs. The results pointed out by this report allow a better understanding of how far and to what extent utilised measures are effective and efficient.

Furthermore, the results on efficiency enable policy-makers not only to choose those measures which provide the greatest support for family caregivers, but also those which reach their targets in the most economical way. Therefore, the proposed socio-economic evaluation has the potential to stimulate wide ranging reviews of policy and service provision related to family carers.

Reported by

Centre for Social Policy Research
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