Austria’s Long-Term Care System: Challenges and Policy Responses

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Approaches to design comprehensive support systems for people in need of long-term care (LTC) have appeared on the policy agenda of European countries from the 1990ies. Austria was one of the first to implement such a system separate from health care. In this last significant expansion of its social protection system, the country established a universal and tax-funded LTC system, departing from Austria’s Bismarckian tradition while carrying along the familialist logic and federalist structure in this policy field. Thirty years later, Austria now joins other countries in creating solutions to important contemporary challenges by discussing another major revamp of its LTC system. This paper renders a country case study to explain the development of Austrian LTC policies in greater depth and from a dynamic perspective. The two-step approach, starts with
presenting the logics and major building blocks of Austria’s LTC system, and provides an update on its benefits and services. The second part identifies and discusses a raft of current and planned measures for three areas that appear critical in terms of future proofing LTC: (i) responses to staffing challenges, (ii) policy pilots to support informal carers, and finally, (iii) the role of digital transformation for LTC in Austria. This showcase exercise fosters policy learning and thus supports innovation and refinement of LTC systems. It could also serve as a futile starting point for comparative LTC policy research that moves beyond the outer hull of care-regime typologies to explore more specific system features and policy interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88 - 101
JournalJournal of Long-Term Care
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502046 Economic policy
  • 504007 Empirical social research
  • 509005 Gerontology
  • 509012 Social policy

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