Planning elderly and palliative care in Montenegro
McCarthy M., Brajovic M.
© 2009, Ubiquity Press Ltd. All rights reserved. Introduction: Montenegro, a newly independent Balkan state with a population of 650,000, has a health care reform programme supported by the World Bank. This paper describes planning for integrated elderly and palliative care. Description: The current service is provided only through a single long-stay hospital, which has institutionalised patients and limited facilities. Broad estimates were made of current financial expenditures on elderly care. A consultation was undertaken with stakeholders to propose an integrated system linking primary and secondary health care with social care; supporting people to live, and die well, at home; developing local nursing homes for people with higher dependency; creating specialised elderly-care services within hospitals; and providing good end-of-life care for all who need it. Effectiveness may be measured by monitoring patient and carers’ perceptions of the care experience. Discussion: Changes in provision of elderly care may be achieved through redirection of existing resources, but the health and social care services also need to enhance elderly care budgets. The challenges for implementation include management skills, engaging professionals and political commitment. Conclusion: Middle-income countries such as Montenegro can develop elderly and palliative care services through redirection of existing finance if accompanied by new service objectives, staff skills and integrated management.