DET_CAREMIX: Exploring and understanding welfare state determinants of care provision for older people in the community in Slovenia and Austria




1.6.2017 - 31.5.2020

Range on year:

1.60 FTE | 2018


prof.dr. Valentina Hlebec

Research activity:

Social sciences

The phases of the project and their realization:

In order to address the six research questions defined above, we will use a mixed-methods research design (Creswell and Plano, 2007), basing our analysis on both primary (qualitative) and secondary (quantitative) data sources. The study will be carried out within four research work packages (WP), which can be generally thought of as sequential (WP2–WP5), although certain activities planned in consecutive stages can also be expected to overlap (see Figure 1 below and Table 1 in section 16). Two additional WPs will focus on the general project management (WP1) and dissemination activities (WP6). These are depicted as circumscribing and taking place alongside the research-based WPs that form the bulk of the project activities. Work package 2 (Literature and legislation review) will address RQ1 and will aim to methodically catalogue the main system characteristics, policies and regulations, as well as other relevant contextual factors, and to develop precise hypotheses to be tested in subsequent stages. Work package 3 (Quantitative analysis) will address RQ2 and RQ3 and will aim to explore the factors associated with differences in the care mixes and care tasks between the two countries. Work package 4 (Qualitative analysis) will address RQ3, RQ4 and RQ5 and will aim to understand how dependent older people and their families select a given combination of care mix and care tasks and to what extent they are influenced by such factors as personal preferences, social benefits and regulations that impact intergenerational exchanges within the household in the context of care and/or cultural values. Work package 5 (Comparative synthesis) will address RQ6 and will aim to synthesize and compare findings between and within countries and within and between quantitative and qualitative methods.

Research Organisation:


Citations for bibliographic records:


Demographic ageing has raised questions about how to best provide quality, sustainable and affordable longterm care (LTC) to dependent older people living in the community. There is a growing concern that reliance on informal care alone for older people living in the community could have adverse effects on the well-being and health of carers and result in a high level of unmet care needs. Supplementing informal care with care services and support for carers may thus be a more efficient and effective way to care for an ageing population. Understanding how public policies can impact the care mix (i.e. whether informal care, formal care or a combination of both is used and for which tasks) is therefore crucial for policymakers to foster more efficient use of care. The adverse effects mentioned above disproportionately affect some groups, including those with limited financial resources or those residing in rural settlements, which raises issues of equity. To date, there is a dearth of empirical evidence on how different public policies across countries impact the use of different types of care (i.e. informal care, formal care or both) and the distribution of care tasks (e.g. personal care, domestic aid) between informal and formal carers among different groups of dependent older people (e.g. concerning socioeconomic status). This could hamper the targeting of public policies and understate possible equity issues related with public policies in LTC. Regarding public policies, the available studies have mostly compared the impact of providing either cash benefits (e.g. in Germany), which can be used to pay informal carers, or generous care services (e.g. in the Nordic countries) on the type of care older people receive (informal care, formal care or both) and the distribution of care tasks between informal and formal carers. These comparisons overlook the fact that the majority of European countries have LTC systems that either rely by default on informal carers or support informal carers as the main providers of care, thus falling short of the generous care service provision found in some of the Nordic countries. Studying the impact of different forms of familialization in LTC is therefore relevant for a wider European audience. Within this context , our project aims to analyze how dependent older people and their families make choices regarding the care mix and care tasks in LTC. In particular, we are interested in understanding how these choices are influenced by the degree of familialization in policies for LTC and how they are differentiated for different groups of dependent older people. In the context of this study, care mix is understood as the use of informal and formal care, or both. The care tasks we consider include nursing care (e.g. putting on prostheses or elastic stockings), personal care (e.g. assistance with dressing), domestic aid (e.g. help with household chores such shopping or food preparation) and technical aid, as well as assistance with travel arrangements and socializing. The study focuses on older people who co-reside with a spouse or children, or that otherwise live alone but have children that is, on older people for whom the choice of informal care, besides formal care, is an option.

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