University of Bremen: Number of people in need of care higher than forecast

The SOCIUM authors, the health economists Professor Heinz Rothgang and Dr. Rolf Müller, have scientifically evaluated data from the care statistics and routine data from BARMER for the current report.
The conclusion: In 2025 and the following years, one million people will be in need of care more than predicted by conventional estimates. The authors see the effects of the last long-term care reforms and thus an increase in the number of beneficiaries as the reason for this.

“In order to find out how many people will have to be cared for in the future, the frequency of current diseases – the so-called prevalences – is currently used. As a result, the future number of people in need of care was underestimated, ”emphasizes Professor Rothgang. He calls for a training offensive.

Sharply increasing number of people in need of care
Since the 2010s, the group of patients who are entitled to benefits has been increasingly expanded. The reason that gradually cognitive limitations such as dementia can be taken into account for the benefit entitlement to long-term care insurance. According to the data from the care statistics, the number of people in need of care rose by 713,000 between 2017 and 2019. With 145,000 cases, the increase was due to demographic developments and, with 568,000 cases, to other effects such as those caused by the introduction of care levels.

“Current projections based on the nursing prevalence of 2019 already underestimated the number of people in need of long-term care in 2020 by more than 6 percent,” points out Professor Rothgang.
The authors of the Nursing Report assume that there will be no further expansion of the group of beneficiaries through further legislative measures in the next few years, but that the introductory effect of the last reforms will only slowly wane by 2025. In total, there will be around one million more people in need of care from 2025 than with the conventional estimate. The more recent estimates show above all more people in need of care with care grades 1 to 3 and receiving care allowance.

The need for nursing staff is 3 percent higher than the conventional estimate
Despite the large number of people in need of care with low levels of care, according to calculations by the Bremen scientists, there will also be a higher need in the inpatient sector than predicted with conventional methods. In comparison, 3 percent more nurses are required than calculated using conventional methods. Overall, a personnel requirement of 510,000 skilled nurses, 196,000 nursing assistants with 1 to 2 years of training and 386,000 nursing assistants without training is predicted for the year 2030. That is 81,000 nursing staff, 87,000 nursing assistants with training and 14,000 nursing staff without training more than shown by the nursing statistics for the year 2019. This results in an additional need of 182,000 nurses for 2030 compared to 2019.

A training offensive is required
The main problem, so the conclusion, remains the recruitment of nursing staff. Satisfying the additional demand is the central challenge of care policy, emphasizes Professor Rothgang. “To do this, the range of training courses must be increased. In addition, the job must be made more attractive through better working conditions and higher wages. ”This could make it possible to persuade nursing staff to stay longer in the job and to attract potential trainees for the job.