LTCcovid Country Profiles
Responses to 3.04. Financial measures to support users and providers of Long-Term Care
The LTCcovid International Living report is a “wiki-style” report addressing 68 questions on characteristics of Long-Term Care (LTC) systems, impacts of COVID-19 on LTC, measures adopted to mitigate these impacts and new reforms countries are adopting to address structural problems in LTC systems and to improved preparedness for future events. It was compiled and updated voluntarily by experts on LTC all over the world. Members of the Social Care COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery project moderated the entries and edited as needed. It was updated regularly until the end of 2022.
The report can be read by question/topic (below) or by country: COVID-19 and Long-Term Care country profiles.
To cite this report (please note the date in which it was consulted as the contents changes over time):
Comas-Herrera A, Marczak J, Byrd W, Lorenz-Dant K, Patel D, Pharoah D (eds.) and LTCcovid contributors. (2022) LTCcovid International living report on COVID-19 and Long-Term Care. LTCcovid, Care Policy & Evaluation Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science. https://doi.org/10.21953/lse.mlre15e0u6s6
Copyright is with the LTCCovid and Care Policy and Evaluation Centre, LSE.
On March 11, 2020, the Australian government announced $440 million Australian Dollars (AUD) to train aged care staff in infection control, to increase the number of staff, and for telehealth services. Additionally, $234.9 AUD was included as a COVID-19 retention bonus to ensure adequate staffing in the workforce. Additional funding was announced on August 31, 2020, where $563.3 million (AUD) was provided to reinforce the aged care sector’s response to COVID-19. This second phase of funding included $245 million AUD for COVID-19 support payments to aged care providers. The government also introduced an entitlement of up to 2 weeks of paid pandemic leave for aged care workers as well as a pandemic leave disaster payment, which is a lumpsum of $1500 to help staff after isolation or quarantine (Charlesworth and Low, 2020).
The Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission phoned all home care services to offer support during COVID-19. There has been $59.3 million AUD of funding from the government allocated to meals on wheels, $50 million AUD to fund home-delivered meals, and $9.3 million AUD on emergency food supply boxes. Additionally, $10 million AUD has been allocated to the Community Visitors Scheme, which facilitates telephone calls and virtual friends for socially isolated people in community based aged care (Charlesworth and Low, 2020).
Charlesworth, S & Low, L-F (2020) The Long-Term Care COVID-19 situation in Australia. Report in LTCcovid.org, International Long-Term Care Policy Network, CPEC-LSE, 12 October 2020.
Last updated: December 22nd, 2021
In Austria, some of the €100 million allocated to support the LTC sector were earmarked for expanding residential care bed capacity for people who could not be cared for sufficiently in their own home because of the complexities of delivering home care during the pandemic (Source: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/336303/Eurohealth-26-2-77-82-eng.pdf). People with care needs can receive cash-for-care allowances following a needs assessment (Source: https://journal.ilpnetwork.org/articles/10.31389/jltc.54/).
Last updated: September 10th, 2021
At the beginning of the pandemic, LTC and assisted living providers reported spending an excessive amount on COVID-related expenditures and were unsure as to whether they would be reimbursed, because the Ministry of Health had not provided clear guidelines or timelines. Providers also reported lost revenue from an increased vacancy rate.
After the province announced additional funding to meet demands, LTC operators found funding distribution to be problematic. LTC operators were not sure how the funding was allocated and distributed. Additionally, privately-owned sites were not included in wage levelling and did not qualify for pandemic pay despite filling the same role. Managers and leaders were not included in pandemic pay, and in some instances, managers were paid less than the people working under them.
Despite supplemental funding totalling 1.3 full time equivalent per full-time staff person in order to cover additional staffing demands, operators found it difficult to fill the extra hours due to staffing shortages (Source: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/1.25.2021_LTC_COVID-19_Response_Review.pdf).
Last updated: November 6th, 2021
In early March 2020, the National Service of Older People (Servicio Nacional del Adulto Mayor, SENAMA) led a public-private partnership that raised approximately $15 million for COVID-19 measures for publicly subsidized care homes. This funding was used to provide on-site technical support, PPE, to provide back up staff, to transfer residents with COVID-19 to isolation facilities, and for testing. In mid-June additional funding for this project made it possible to extend the support to “non-luxury” for-profit care homes (where the average fee per resident is lower than $USD 850). By mid-July 2020, this initiative was estimated to have reached 85% of the most vulnerable for-profit care homes (Browne et al., 2020).
Browne J, Fasce G, Pineda I, Villalobos P (2020) Policy responses to COVID-19 in Long-Term Care facilities in Chile. LTCcovid.org, International Long-Term Care Policy Network, CPEC-LSE, 24 July 2020.
Last updated: December 22nd, 2021
Employers will be reimbursed for any sick pay they have had to pay out due to COVID-19, an employee’s illness, unavailability due to quarantine responsibilities, or if a person has had to stay at home because they or their relatives are in a risk group. This has been extended to July 31, 2021 (source: https://www.aeldresagen.dk/viden-og-raadgivning/penge-og-pension/arbejdsliv/gode-raad/corona-nye-regler-for-udvidet-sygedagpenge).
More funds have been given to municipalities as well as to the NGO’s to provide information and individual advice to debilitated older people, including those with dementia and their relatives, on how to deal with the consequences of COVID-19. Funds have also been allocated for telephone counselling which targets older isolated people (source: Publications catalogue – Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion – European Commission (europa.eu).
Last updated: September 16th, 2021
An investment of €6bn was made in July 2020 to enable renovations and technology upgrades across the health and social care sectors (Source: https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-eco/castex-annonce-6-milliards-d-euros-d-investissement-dans-le-systeme-de-sante-20200715). Additionally, €7.6bn was secured for an increase in base salary for workers in public hospitals and care homes of €182/month, and €160/month in private settings, as well as a revision of salary bands by Spring 2021, maximum hours for overtime, and investment in recruitment policies (Source: https://www2.assemblee-nationale.fr/static/15/pdf/rapport/i3633.pdf).
Last updated: September 10th, 2021
Support with loss of income for residential care facilities
In March 2020, the government announced that care facilities will be reimbursed through the LTC Insurance system for additional costs (e.g. personal protective equipment) or loss of income due to the pandemic (Lorenz-Dant, 2020; Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, 2020).
Support for people where professional care was unavailable
The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds further outlined possibilities to reimburse other people providing care for up to three months if the usual ambulatory or replacement care cannot be provided (Lorenz-Dant, 2020).
Bonus payment for LTC workers & limitations
Care workers also received a one-off, tax-free COVID-19 payment. A study on LTC workers in different care settings showed that respondents highlighted the need for better pay, which could be achieved through tax exemptions. Respondents were critical of the pandemic bonus, saying they would prefer long-term improvement in pay, and some noted that the bonus should be extended to everyone working in care settings, not just care workers (Stolle et al., 2020).
Critique of limited focus on support for people with disabilities
In addition, there has been criticism regarding the limited focus of COVID-19 social protection packages on people with disabilities (Sozialverband VDK, 2020).
Bundesministerium für Gesundheit (2020) Bundesrat stimmt Gesetzespaketen zur Unterstützung des Gesundheitswesens bei der Bewältigung der Corona-Epidemie zu. Available at: https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/presse/pressemitteilungen/2020/1-quartal/corona-gesetzespaket-im-bundesrat.html (Accessed 3 February 2022).
Lorenz-Dant, K. (2020) Germany and the COVID-19 long-term care situation. LTCcovid, International Long Term Care Policy Network, CPEC-LSE, 26 May 2020. Available at: https://ltccovid.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Germany_LTC_COVID-19-26-May-2020.pdf (Accessed 3 February 2022)
Sozialverband VDK (2020) Menschen mit Behinderung und Corona. Available at: https://www.vdk.de/deutschland/pages/presse/presse-statement/79041/behinderung_corona (Accessed 3 February 2022).
Stolle, C., Schmidt, A., Domhoff, D. et al. Bedarfe der Langzeitpflege in der COVID-19-Pandemie. Z Gerontol Geriat 53, 788–795 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00391-020-01801-7.
Some NGOs have delivered ‘surgical masks and anti-epidemic packs’, emergency financial support, contingency supplies, and Chinese medicine treatments to people in need (Source: https://ltccovid.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Hong-Kong-COVID-19-Long-term-Care-situation_updates-on-8-July-1.pdf).
Last updated: September 10th, 2021
In Ireland, financial support was given directly to care homes which were able to receive immediate temporary assistance payments to respond to a COVID-19 outbreak (Sources: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/336303/Eurohealth-26-2-77-82-eng.pdf; https://ltccovid.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Ireland-COVID-LTC-report-updated-13-May-2020.pdf).
Last updated: September 10th, 2021
At the beginning of April 2020 the LTCFs management and owners have cried for financial help. After many discussions (and one canceled High-court appeal), they received some support, mainly for the purchase of PPE. A few months later, some institutions received direct financial support mainly for openning inpatient Covid-19 wards within the facilities (primarily Geriatric institutions and hospitals) and for increasing caregivers shifts (source: Health.GOV).
Some have criticized the Ministry of Health for transferring funds to institutions without proper oversight of the intended use of those grants (source: Calcalist).
Care receivers in the community were entitled to replace the in-kind benefit with a cash benefit due to the lack of available caregivers and the concern some families had of having a non-family caregiver entering the older person’s household.
Last updated: December 5th, 2021
Public authorities launched temporary compensation schemes to help nursing homes cover extraordinary expenses related to the pandemic (e.g. personal protective equipment) and compensate for loss of income (Source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ji-iDCjC-8EbBpV0dW_xlz780uvU7F–/view).
Care professionals received a bonus of €1000 in 2020. In 2021 there will also be a bonus provided (Source: https://www.vilans.nl/vilans/media/documents/publicaties/covid-19-in-long-term-care-until-june-2021.pdf).
Last updated: September 10th, 2021
In May/June, nurses working in the municipalities (nursing homes and home nursing) and hospitals have been striking, demanding higher salaries. The Norwegian Nursing Association (representing a large majority of Norwegian nurses) has negotiated with the municipalities and hospitals (state) for increasing wages for several years. This spring, the conflict has been heightened because of the pressures nurses working in health and care services have experienced. The authorities have given extra grants to the municipalities to cover extra expenses. However, it is the individual municipality that decides how the funds will be used. Therefore, it varies whether and how much extra resources nursing homes have received (Source: https://www.vilans.nl/vilans/media/documents/publicaties/covid-19-in-long-term-care-until-june-2021.pdf).
Last updated: September 10th, 2021
Providers of residential care faced financial shortages for a variety of reasons (e.g. additional costs of PPE, increasing prices of hygienic/cleaning products, food during pandemic, increasing costs of staff (both wages and food) who resided in the homes during quarantine). Additional money from the national and local governments partly addressed the financial challenges, NGOs, firms’ as well as private donations were also invaluable in addressing financial gaps, however residential care providers were increasingly considering increasing costs for residents (source: Domy-pomocy-spolecznej-w-dobie-pandemii-19-11.pdf (hfhr.pl).
During the pandemic, the central government put additional financial resources for equipping LTC facilities. The Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Affairs decided to devote an additional 20 million z? (ca. €4.7 million) to addressing protection needs in social welfare homes. These resources have been distributed to social welfare homes by the regional authorities, and have been used to support investments in equipment, rearrange facilities according to the sanitary guidelines, and to improve access to protection and preventive measures (masks, gloves, etc.). In the healthcare sector, all financial needs related to COVID-19 are financed from the central budget. The pandemic highlighted the underfunded nature of the LTC system and experts highlight the need for increased payments for services (source: ESPN Flash Report 2020/43).
Last updated: November 3rd, 2021 Contributors: Joanna Marczak |
In total, the government has proposed 20 billion Swedish Krona (SEK) in 2020 for the municipalities’ and the regions’ additional costs as a result of COVID-19. The Government has proposed an increase in general government subsidies, 26 billion SEK by 2020. Of these, 5 billion SEK was announced before the outbreak of COVIDD-19. The additional amounts totalling 21 billion SEK for 2020 have been made to strengthen the municipal sector’s ability to maintain socially important functions, such as schools and care. The proposals have been adopted by the Riksdag (the national legislature) (Source: https://www.vilans.nl/vilans/media/documents/publicaties/covid-19-in-long-term-care-until-june-2021.pdf).
Last updated: November 30th, 2021
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) (2020) published the action plan for social care, on April 15 2020, confirmed the announcement in March of £2.9 billion of funding ‘to strengthen care for the vulnerable’. Of the £2.9 billion, £1.3 billion was earmarked for collaborative efforts between the NHS and local authorities, particularly to fund additional support following hospital discharge, and £1.6 billion of the funding was allocated to support local government with the provision of services, including adult social care. The action plan outlines that local authorities are expected to use the additional funding to protect providers cash flow, monitor ongoing cost of care delivery, and adjust fees to meet new costs. It is anticipated that this funding covers the cost for additional personal protective equipment (PPE) required. The government suggests that the additional money provided could also be used for backfilling shifts as well as to maintain income for workers unable to work due to physical distancing measures as far as possible. This is intended to financially support workers who may have to stop working temporarily because they are unwell or self-isolating. Furthermore, the plan made a plea for donations to support social care workers who may experience financial difficulties, similar to the donations that NHS charities have received. A survey examining funding access found that only 30% of care home managers reported receiving a financial uplift at the time, with 73% stating that they needed more funding (Rajan et al. 2020).
On May 15, a £600 million Infection Control Fund was introduced as part of a wider package of support for care homes to help providers reduce the rate of transmission in and between care homes and support wider workforce resilience. The funding is being paid in 2 tranches. The first was paid to local authorities on May 22. The second tranche was paid in early July. This money has been allocated to local authorities and is in addition to the funding already provided to support the adult social care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. Local authorities are expected to pass 75% of the initial funding directly to care homes in their area for use on infection control measures, including to care homes with whom the local authority does not have existing contracts. The second payment will be contingent on the first being used for infection control. The remaining 25% must also be used for infection control measures, but local authorities are able to allocate this based on need.
Local authority directors responsible for administering this new fund have expressed “deep concern” that it apparently cannot be used by homes to purchase PPE, requires detailed and prescriptive accounting and reporting, does not cover domiciliary care and supported living schemes, resulting in “a confused and overly bureaucratic system, which makes it difficult for providers to claim and impossible for local authorities to deliver within the required timescales”. An independent analysis commissioned by local authorities estimated that providers could face over £6 billion in additional costs during April to September 2020, because of higher staffing costs (mainly due to cover staff who are ill or self-isolating), PPE, and extra cleaning and overhead costs.
On October 1, DHSC announced a second round of funding worth £546 million for the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund. This is to be extended until March 2021, following on from May 2020, when the fund was initially worth £600 million. The purpose of this fund is to support adult social care providers to reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission within and between care settings, in particular by helping to reduce the need for staff movements between sites. Half will be paid on October 1, and the other in December. Local authorities should pass on 80% of this to care homes on a per bed basis and CQC-regulated community care providers on a per user basis, both of which must be within the local geographical area. The other 20% should be used to support care providers, allocated at the discretion of the local authority. This allocation cannot be used to pay for the cost of purchasing extra PPE.
As recently as November 3, 2020, 75 care organisations called on the government to align the Carers Allowance with Universal Credit, as it is currently in Scotland, to recognise the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on carers.
On December 23, DHSC announced £149 million to support the rollout of Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing in care homes. This funding will be paid in January 2021. All funding must be used to support increased LFD testing in care settings. Local authorities should pass on 80% of this to care homes on a per bed basis, which must be within the local geographical area. The other 20% should be used to support care providers to implement increased LFD testing, allocated at the discretion of the local authority.
On January 13, 2021, NHS England (NHSE) announced that the amount that local vaccination services could claim for delivering COVID-19 vaccinations in care home settings was increasing from the original £12.58 Item of Service fee and an enhanced payment of £10. This has been increased so that first doses delivered in a care home setting from December 14, 2020, to close January 17, 2021, will carry an enhanced additional payment of £30, and doses delivered in the week beginning January 18 a payment of £20. The £10 will continue to apply for all COVID vaccinations in a care home setting between January 25 and 31, as well as for the second dose for all patients and staff who received their first dose on or before January 31. Primary Care Networks (PCNs) bringing in additional workforce between now and the end of January will be eligible to claim up to £950 per week (a maximum of £2500 per PCN grouping).
On January 17, 2021, DHSC announced the Workforce Capacity Fund, worth £120 million, which was to support local authorities in boosting staffing levels and deliver measures to supplement and strengthen adult social care staff capacity to ensure that safe and continuous care is achieved. This funding is available until March 31. The first £84 million (70%) will be paid in early February and the second £36 million (30%) will be paid in March.
On March 12, Nuffield Trust published a blog post explaining that there was no mention of social care in the budget announced by the Chancellor. Short-term emergency support (the Rapid Testing Fund, the Infection Control Fund, and the Workforce Capacity Fund) was crucial in enabling the social care sector to function throughout the pandemic, and is due to expire at the end of March.
On March 18, LaingBuisson reported that an extra £341 million was to be provided to support adult social care with the costs of infection prevention control and testing so that visits can be carried out safely. This commitment was for a three-month period. There was no mention of an extension to the Workforce Capacity Fund. On the same day, the National Care Forum’ press release reported that there were announcements around additional funding for hospital discharge.
Updated on October 1, the 2021 to 2022 Better Care Fund is one of the national vehicles for driving health and social care integration. It requires clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local government to agree a joint plan, owned by the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB). This will total approximately £6.9 billion, with a minimum NHS (CCG) contribution of nearly £4.3 billion, an improved Better Care Fund (iBCF) of just over £2 billion, and a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) of just over £570 million.
DHSC (2020). COVID-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care. Retrieved from: publishing.service.gov.uk; Accessed on 15/03/2022
Rajan, S, et al.. (2020). Did the UK Government Really Throw a Protective Ring Around Care Homes in the COVID-19 Pandemic? Journal of Long-Term Care, pp. 185–195. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31389/jltc.53
Oung, C. at al. (2020). What are carers in each of the four UK countries entitled to? Nuffield Trust blog post. Retrieved from: The Nuffield Trust ; Accessed on 15/03/2022
Last updated: March 15th, 2022 Contributors: William Byrd |
In response to the pandemic, the government introduced various policies to support the population. One of these, Resolution 42 (passed on 09-04-21) applied to people whose income decreased significantly or who could not maintain their minimum living standard due to the pandemic. However, there were reports that significant barriers were faced by many trying to access this support, including people with disabilities and their carers. Resolution 42 also applied to elderly people over the age of 80 (identified as part of the Social Protection beneficiaries). Few barriers were reported in terms of access for this group, mainly because their information is always available and accurate (source: careevaluations.org report).
Last updated: January 3rd, 2022 Contributors: Daisy Pharoah |
Contributors to the LTCcovid Living International Report, so far:
Elisa Aguzzoli, Liat Ayalon, David Bell, Shuli Brammli-Greenberg, Erica Breuer, Jorge Browne Salas, Jenni Burton, William Byrd, Sara Charlesworth, Adelina Comas-Herrera, Natasha Curry, Gemma Drou, Stefanie Ettelt, Maria-Aurora Fenech, Thomas Fischer, Nerina Girasol, Chris Hatton, Kerstin Hämel, Nina Hemmings, David Henderson, Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith, Iva Holmerova, Stefania Ilinca, Hongsoo Kim, Margrieta Langins, Shoshana Lauter, Kai Leichsenring, Elizabeth Lemmon, Klara Lorenz-Dant, Lee-Fay Low, Joanna Marczak, Elisabetta Notarnicola, Cian O’Donovan, Camille Oung, Disha Patel, Martina Paulikova, Eleonora Perobelli, Daisy Pharoah, Stacey Rand, Tine Rostgaard, Olafur H. Samuelsson, Maximilien Salcher-Konrad, Benjamin Schlaepfer, Cheng Shi, Cassandra Simmons, Andrea E. Schmidt, Agnieszka Sowa-Kofta, Wendy Taylor, Thordis Hulda Tomasdottir, Sharona Tsadok-Rosenbluth, Sara Ulla Diez, Lisa van Tol, Patrick Alexander Wachholz, Jae Yoon Yi, Jessica J. Yu
This report has built on previous LTCcovid country reports and is supported by the Social Care COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery project, which is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (NIHR202333) and by the International Long-Term Care Policy Network and the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the funders.