Law on the service quality for the elderly passed by the Chamber of Deputies

The law on the service quality for the elderly was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on 20 July 2023.

"This law puts the elderly at the centre of attention. It emphasises the quality and transparency of the services and benefits available to the elderly, out of a concern for respect, dignity and the interests of these people", said the Minister for Family Affairs and Integration, Max Hahn, in his speech.

The new law organises the activities of managing bodies working in the fields of active ageing, home care and long-stay accommodation for the elderly.

The introduction of a register of accommodation facilities for the elderly provides transparent information to those receiving services and to the general public.

Service quality

Quality management focuses on both the service quality and the process quality to be implemented by organisations managing structures or services for the elderly.

The new law introduces the concept of general regulations (règlement general) and defines their components, in particular the establishment project. It also introduces the concept of general regulation and defines among other things its elements, in particular the project for the development and evolution of the facility. This forms the foundation of quality management and defines key elements such as the service target group, the range of services, the general care concept and the care concept tailored to the specific needs of users, the complaints management to be applied, the pricing and rate policy applied, and the means of ensuring internal and external communication.

The law on the service quality for the elderly also provides for the clarification of infrastructure specifications and the adaptation of staffing levels to ensure a greater presence of qualified staff and better supervision of the target population.

Quality assessment is carried out on a regular basis by a dedicated unit of the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region on the basis of administrative checks and interviews with residents and clients of the services as well as with professionals. Services with an unsatisfactory rating will have to implement a remedial plan to be approved by the Minister.

For homecare and long-stay residential services, particular emphasis is placed on the skills and specific training of supervisory staff. In addition to training requirements in the context of palliative care, a standard has been introduced for training in psycho-geriatrics, as well as training in infection prevention and control and compliance with hygiene and health regulations.

The register, the mediator and the ethics committee

The law provides for the creation of a register listing all accommodation facilities for the elderly, in which the services and benefits offered by accommodation facilities for the elderly will be published, together with their cost and the standard forms of the accommodation contract for each facility. This register will provide substantial gains in terms of information and transparency.

A national information and mediation service in the field of services for the elderly is set up, headed by a mediator dedicated in this field. This service can be contacted by beneficiaries of services for the elderly, their contact persons as well as the managing bodies.

An ethics committee must be set up in homecare and long-stay residential services, providing a point of reference for all residents, families, supervisory staff and management.

The Conseil supérieur des personnes âgées

The law establishes the Conseil supérieur des personnes âgées (CSPA). The CSPA is a consultative body responsible for advising the Minister, examining problems relating to the elderly and making proposals for improvements.

The Council is composed of representatives of organisations of and for the elderly, trade unions and representatives of the State. In addition, members are co-opted based on their professional expertise in the fields of law, medicine, care, social work, human sciences or gerontology, or their social commitment.

The Commission permanente pour le secteur des personnes âgées

The new law establishes the Commission permanente pour le secteur des personnes âgées, which brings together all the key stakeholders in the sector. This committee was preceded by an ad hoc committee during the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stakeholders involved in the fields of family politics, social security, long-term care insurance and health have an influence on the management of services for the elderly, particularly in residential facilities, care and assistance networks and day centres. A good interaction between these stakeholders is essential to the quality of services offered to residents and users.

The committee may, among other things, issue recommendations on managers' establishment projects and on the assessments carried out as part of the quality management system. It may also propose all health, financial and administrative measures to improve services for the elderly. In addition, it may, at the request of the Minister, carry out or request the carrying out of surveys, analyses, studies, reports or expert appraisals on the various aspects of the situation of services for the elderly.

Buildings or housing designed for the elderly

The new text also establishes the conditions under which a building or dwelling may be sold or rented under a name aimed at the elderly.

Press release by the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region

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