The Rural Care Model: rethinking long-term care for elderly people in rural areas

RuralCare is a social innovation project which aims to design, test and evaluate a new approach in the provision of integrated long-term care for elderly people living in rural areas depending on their values, desires and individual preferences.

A new report now outlines how the proposed model, being trialled in Castilla y Léon in Spain, would work. Based on current practices, the report identifies the information required, the way in which it will be collected and the tools required to carry it out. It also outlines the way referrals will be made and different services will coordinate their services to support elderly people living in rural settings within the framework of the National Dependency Care System and the Chronic Patient Care strategy in Castilla and Leon.

Castilla y Léon is also experiencing the same demographic ageing of the population which is taking place in other parts of Europe. Currently 60% of the elderly population, in Castilla y León are living in rural areas and are susceptible to loneliness and isolation. The model at the heart of the project aims to support the ability of people to live in their own homes, according to their choices and arranging the necessary support to realise their wishes.

To do this, a full assessment of the person and their environment will be carried out. In this way, the approach shifts to being preventive and proactive, in which the person requiring care is at the centre of the model, making the decisions about the whole process. This entails the design of new holistic assessment and intervention tools, as well as the necessary reorganization of professional roles, coordination between multidisciplinary teams and true care integration which will ensure cohesive and continuous care.

Next steps

Once the Model has been defined, the pilot has been launched for its experimentation in rural areas of the Province of Valladolid, accompanied by an evaluation process with periodic assessments. The pilot will be active until the first quarter of 2023 and during its validity, updates about its progress will be published.