A greater number of people in need of care was expected

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Berlin. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) speaks of an “explosive” increase in the number of people needing care – but the president of the German Professional Association for Nursing Professions (DBfK), Professor Christel Bienstein, emphasizes: The increase was predictable .

During the pandemic from 2020 until the end of 2022, nursing assessment largely took place via telephone only, Bienstein said on “Deutschlandfunk” on Wednesday. Significantly more people now have the opportunity to be assessed in person. She is therefore not surprised that the number of benefit recipients has increased.

The last one was there Number of people needing care According to the Federal Ministry of Health, there are around 5.2 million – there are also 312 thousand insured people who received private nursing care insurance benefits, according to the ministry, citing figures from nursing care insurance funds. Due to demographics, the number of people needing care should only have increased by around 50,000 in 2023 – in fact, there were 360,000 more people.

More direct reviews again

Bienstein expects the number of people needing care to increase further in the coming years. On the one hand, there are more elderly people – and on the other, a growing number of people with disabilities who depend on care for a variety of chronic illnesses.

The care system is ill-prepared for the growing staffing needs, Bienstein warned. In the 1970s, the industry still had around 1.4 million nursing professionals between the ages of 18 and 24. The number of young people in care has now fallen to around 750,000.

The gap cannot be filled by recruiting colleagues abroad. Many European countries also face a shortage of qualified nursing staff. One problem is that the nursing profession is highly valued in society. “But not as a career your kids should pursue, because you know the workload is huge.”

Make greater use of nursing skills

With regard to social long-term care insurance, Bienstein spoke out in favor of tax financing in addition to the current fee system. The reduction of hospital beds is also delayed. This can save money that would otherwise be used elsewhere, such as care. It is also necessary to create primary care centers and health kiosks.

People could get low-level counseling, for example, to “cope better” with their diabetes. Health professionals who can deal with this situation should be deployed in schools. children and young people practiced “preventive processes”.

It’s possible to manage this with staff, says Bienstein. Clinical reform offers the opportunity to entrust other tasks to nursing staff. Nursing specialists have their own skills, for example, in the care of chronic illnesses. However, colleagues were unable to use these skills “as the doctor’s requirement still applies”. (man)

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