The challenge of addressing long-term care in a rural environment

The challenge of addressing long-term care in a rural environment

By Fundación Personas, Project Partner

So far, the response to the care of people with needs in rural environments has been limited as a consequence of a dispersed population and the characteristics of the area (shortage of services; shortage of informal carers and professionals; difficulty for access to resources and increase of their cost; etc.). Therefore, RuralCare aims at facing this challenge and poses “a new way of approaching long – term care in rural areas respecting the rights of individuals, especially the right to remain linked in your natural environment and maintain a sense of belonging.” It is also intended to give a comprehensive response by combining social and health solutions.

This comparative frame of other care models versus the care model in long-term care that is being developed by this project.

Fundación Personas, a ” non – profit organization with extensive experience in providing support to people with disabilities and other long term care services” is responsible  for “testing an innovative systematic approach in relation to long – term care.

They are providing the services to people participating in the project pilot.  Their team of professionals are mainly settled in rural areas, and they work in close close collaboration with the social services and health care case coordinators, who are also situated in the area.

Once an individual’s participation has been formalized by the social case coordinator, Fundación Personas begins its intervention. The case manager builds a relationship of trust with the person, to understand their desires and preferences which form the basis for the provisional support plan, which after any necessary modifications becomes the final support plan. This plan gathers the person’s basic data, the actions which will be undertaken and the support which  will be provided so that the person can, according to their preferences, develop their life project. The plan must always remain truthful to their life story, an is an open document in constant evolution according to the beneficiary’s most important life events.

The project participants choose what levels of support they need to carry out the basic activities of their daily life. Their  personal assistant is a professional who provides this support to ensure their autonomy and independence, whose flexible approach adapts to their particular illnesses or disabilities.

The case manager follows up and monitors the process and the care provided, and they make the necessary modifications to the support provided such as increasing or decreasing the timing of support, providing any technical and technological support, and managing any housing adaptations which might be required so the beneficiary can stay in their own home.

The advantages and disadvantages of living in rural areas are highlighted in the development of these individual plans.  Many of the characteristics of rural environments turn out to be facilitators for the development of a project like RuralCare in which attention to one’s neighbours is the focus of the intervention. However, some of the disadvantages are also reflected in the project’s challenges: the lack of qualified professionals in the area; dispersion of the population, services and resources, leading to higher costs; isolation and loneliness; slow paperwork and excessive bureaucracy; services very widespread and not adapted to the individuality of each person, etc.

Therefore, the Rural Care project aim to make resources and tools available to the rural environment so that local people can stay in the area and their homes for as long as they wish.




Thanks to the Rural Care project, we, the people of the villages, can stay in our own homes” (Participant in the RuralCare project , 2022).