From Practical Responsibility to Everyday Practice - from Entitlement to Living Reality

People in various situations during their lives can be in need of long-term care and assistance. This Charter of Rights for People in Need of Long Term Care and Assistance is intended to strengthen the role and the legal position of people in this situation and their relatives and to provide information and suggestions for those involved in supplying care and assistance.

The Charter is a result of the work of the "Round Table for Long Term Care" initiated in the autumn of 2003. This body was set up by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and the former Federal Ministry of Health and Social Security with the aim of improving conditions for people in Germany who are in need of long-term care and assistance. Some 200 experts from all areas responsible for care in old age (including the federal states, local government, bodies responsible for care institutions, charitable associations, associations of responsible bodies, nursing home supervisory bodies, long-term care insurance funds, advocacy groups for the elderly, researchers, foundations) were all involved. In the period up to the autumn of 2005, working groups formulated recommended courses of action to improve home and residential care and to reduce bureaucracy, and developed as a central measure this "Charter of Rights for People in Need of Long-Term Care and Assistance". The Charter gives a detailed catalogue of the rights of people in Germany who are in need of long-term care and assistance.

Now is the time for the recommendations of the "Round Table for Long-Term Care" and the Charter to be put into effect in order that those involved in care and in particular the beneficiaries of long-term care services may benefit from the work done by the Round Table. Some organisations and bodies responsible for care institutions already are successfully implementing the Charter. The all-important step from entitlement to living reality can only be achieved with wide scale commitment on the part of all actors and beneficiaries in the longterm care sector.

Detailed information on the Round Table for Long Term Care with a special focus on implementation can be found online at www.bmfsfj.de and www.bmg.bund.de.