LTCcovid Country Profile – Printable Version

1.00. Brief overview of the Long-Term Care system

Long-term care provision has remained mainly with families, and formal LTC service provision is considered inadequate to meet even current needs and demand.  Home and community-based care services that support aging in place for elders with limitations in
ADL and IADL are rare; residential care is not appropriate in terms of available services or eligibility. Informal care at home is often provided by family members, usually,  a female relative. Untrained domestic workers are sometimes hired as caregivers.

Update for: Sri Lanka   Last updated: January 6th, 2022

1.01. Population size and ageing context

In 2019, approximately 15.9% of the population of Sri Lanka was older than 60 years of age, with 9.2% aged 60–69 years, 5.1% aged 70–79 years, and 1.6% over 80 years of age. Projections suggest that these proportions will increase, more than doubling between 2030 and 2050; 60% will be women. This also represents a significant increase in absolute numbers. The “old-age dependency ratio” is projected to rise steadily, from 20% in 2015 to 43% in 2050 (source: Country Diagnostic Study on Long-Term Care in Sri Lanka (

Update for: Sri Lanka   Last updated: September 8th, 2021

1.02. Long-Term Care system governance

The Constitution of Sri Lanka grants all citizens the right to health care, while legislation such as the Protection of the Rights of Elders Act and the Protection of the Rights of Elders (Amendment) Act focus more on elders’ rights and welfare. The National Elderly Health Policy of Sri Lanka was launched in February 2017, and the delivery plan mandated the redevelopment of underutilized inpatient health-care facilities into LTC facilities. The Ministry of Health, together with the established State Ministry of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID
Disease Control, are responsible for policy and formulating LTC services for older persons (source: Country Diagnostic Study on Long-Term Care in Sri Lanka (

Update for: Sri Lanka   Last updated: January 6th, 2022

1.03. Long-term care financing arrangements and coverage

Health spending was 3.8% of GDP in 2017, of which 1.6% was accounted for by public health expenditure and 2.2% by other financing. The government finances most social services, while non-profit sector and private donation financing is limited.  Families currently bear most LTC costs.  Residential care homes are financed by the non-profit sector and fees are paid by the resident or covered by charitable donations. In-home nursing care services are financed by out-of-pocket payments (source: Country Diagnostic Study on Long-Term Care in Sri Lanka (

Update for: Sri Lanka   Last updated: September 6th, 2021

1.04. Approach to care provision, including sector of ownership

State and NGO operated day-care centers. The NSE supports 662 day-care centers around the country.  HelpAge Sri Lanka and other NGOs have also supported day-care centers. There may be other day-care centers and Elders’ Clubs operated by small NGOs and village-level

Sri Lanka has two main types of residential facilities: those primarily designed to provide housing for older people who lack shelter, and those that aim to provide LTC support and nursing care. Most facilities fall into the first category and are known as “elders’ homes” or “eldercare homes.” Even if the primary aim is to provide shelter, some residents have or develop needs for LTC support over time. Sri Lanka currently has around 255 eldercare homes serving approximately 7,100 elder residents, two owned by the central government and three by provincial councils. The private sector operates around 20 homes; others are not-for-profit and funded by private donations and some government funding. Not-for-profit eldercare homes are usually operated by faith-based organizations and NGOs. Homes for elders registered under the Department of Social Services increased from 68 in 1987 to 162 in 2003. Five public eldercare homes house 7% of all elder residents, and 220 private (i.e., not for-profit) eldercare homes house 85% of all elder residents.

The 2017 survey of eldercare provider institutions, it was estimated that there were about 25 home nursing care service providers, although the exact number is not known due to gaps in the implementation and monitoring of the formal registration system of such providers and regulation of the industry. These home nursing care services provide 24-hour nursing care to about 900 older clients. The services are usually expensive and not affordable for lower-income families (source: Country Diagnostic Study on Long-Term Care in Sri Lanka (

Update for: Sri Lanka   Last updated: January 6th, 2022

1.05. Quality and regulation in Long-term care

Since 2011 every person or organization, voluntarily or otherwise, that is engaged in the establishment and maintenance of any institution intended for providing residential care to more than five elders must register with the NSE, failure to comply with this requirement is an offense. Nursing care service providers are required to register with the Private Health Sector Regulatory Council (PHSRC) as a private medical institution. Registration must be done annually through the Provincial Director of Health Services (PDHS). The PHSRC will direct unregistered institutions to register. The PHSRC may shut down any institution that fails to comply with the registration requirement. The PHSRC sets guidelines for the operation of in-home nursing care services. The PDHS is required to check that an institution renewing its registration meets the guidelines and is, therefore, responsible for overseeing the quality standards for in-home nursing care institutions (source: Country Diagnostic Study on Long-Term Care in Sri Lanka).

Update for: Sri Lanka   Last updated: February 21st, 2022