The financial situation for organizations that care for the elderly is becoming unsustainable. This is the conclusion reached by accountant BDO in an analysis of the annual reports of 789 healthcare institutions. More than 200 healthcare organizations suffered a loss in 2022. That is an increase of 40 percent compared to the previous year.
The fear is that a significant number of aged care facilities will go bankrupt. There is also a risk that essential healthcare providers will have to be dismissed due to financial shortfalls. And that while nursing homes have a waiting list of more than 20,000 people. Moreover, the staff shortage is already particularly acute.
Not washed for weeks
BDO warns that the quality of elderly care will deteriorate if nothing changes. This may involve less personal attention, less time for caring for people or less daily activities.
Recent research by the NOS shows that this loss of quality of care is already underway. Elderly people in nursing homes are sometimes not washed for weeks. There are also fixed toilet times, which means that people who can’t stop sitting in their own stool for a longer period of time.
According to BDO, this downward spiral is due to an accumulation of setbacks. These are inflation, higher energy costs and increased interest costs. Because there is a staff shortage, the institutions are also forced to hire more expensive freelancers.
‘Government policy exacerbates problems’
BDO’s concerns are exacerbated by government policy. Instead of ensuring a reduction in the burden, the government is making major cutbacks in care for the elderly. For example, the national budget for this sector will be cut by 3 percent up to 2026.
In addition, from 2024, the Dutch Healthcare Authority will reduce part of the rate with which institutions pay housing for residents. It is 8 percent. According to healthcare institutions, this is a loss that they cannot compensate for.
The health insurers also plan to cut rates in the next two years. 250 healthcare organizations have gone to court to prevent this.
Tomorrow a group of 27 Northern Dutch elderly care organizations will protest in The Hague. According to that organization, staff shortages and aging threaten a disaster in elderly care.
The initiator is the North Dutch Cooperative of Healthcare Organizations. Director Roeli Mossel hands over a petition to outgoing minister Conny Helder (Long-term Care). “It is not so much that we ask for a lot of extra money. We simply ask that we are not cut further. You cannot expect us to survive with cutbacks and the accumulation of costs.”
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