20 September 2021 11:00

Bizkaia presents the advances and the future development to promote the transition in long-term care

Provincial Council Chairperson’s Office - Diputado General

Unai Rementeria: “This plan seeks to improve the assistance for people who require long-term care, adapt that assistance to the 21st century, modernise our care provision system and introduce technology, the latest advances. And to do so with consideration and now. We face an ambitious challenge that requires the complicity and involvement of all agents in the sector”. The General Deputy of Bizkaia has shared with the sector’s agents the strategic axes that underpin the transformation of long-term care, both home-based and in residential centres, and the objectives set for this legislature: the deployment of the EtxeTIC model in the territory; the progressive promotion of co-residential units in centres to achieve 35% of these types of places by 2023; the creation of a network of up to 4 specialised support teams for the entire residential network and an increase in the professional upskilling of care home staff through training. With these projects under way, Bizkaia Provincial Council pushes for a transformation in long-term care, moving towards personalisation to help address the diversity and evolution of the needs, expectations, and preferences of individuals that require support to carry out their life projects. The budgetary impact of the development of this plan amounts to 185 million euros between 2021-2023.

Plan for the transition of long-term care in Bizkaia

This morning the General Deputy of Bizkaia, Unai Rementeria, presented the main advances and future development of the Plan for the transition of long-term care in Bizkaia, as well as the objectives set for this legislature. With this project which is already under way, Bizkaia Provincial Council will promote a transformation in long-term care, moving towards a more personalised model to help address the diversity and evolution of the needs, expectations, and preferences of individuals that require support to carry out their life projects, both at home and in residential centres. The General Deputy of Bizkaia was accompanied at the presentation by the Provincial Deputy for Social Policy, Sergio Murillo, and the Provincial Deputy for Employment, Social Inclusion and Equality, Teresa Laespada.

Unai Rementeria stated before the sector's agents that this will be a gradual and progressive, voluntary process to be assisted with and shared, because this evolution of the care focus means a major cultural shift, demanding the adaptation of processes and dynamics that have been consolidated. A challenge that the Provincial Council addresses through the current situation, starting with the advancements that are being made so far along these lines: The system works and works very well. We are referential at State and European level regarding care for people, but we want to be better, to help better. And that means improving a little more what already works. In this respect, the General Deputy highlighted that the plan set out in Bizkaia seeks precisely that: Improving the assistance for people who require long-term care, adapting that assistance to the 21st century, modernising our care provision system and introducing technology, the latest advances. And to do so with consideration and now. We face an ambitious challenge that requires the complicity and involvement of all agents in the sector, stressed Rementeria.

Although the current situation, with the continued growth of life expectancy and advances in the healthcare system, is a good indicator of the region's development, it suggests the need to address a "re-evolution of long-term care" through a multidimensional and long-term approach; through a shared care system and at the choice of the people in a situation of dependency and their families. Within this context, the provincial plan to promote the transition in long-term care is underpinned by 4 key projects whose specific objectives have already been established for this legislature:

  1. Daycare centres with the EtxeTIC Model ( as a strategy to support remaining at home)

    The EtxeTIC model is a pioneering initiative that will combine the assistance of a daycare centre with assistance for a more extensive volume of people in a situation of dependency who are at home, monitored via support and prevention technologies in the home, and with regular attendance at the referral centre close to their home.

    After the preliminary consultation of the market carried out in 2020, and once the tender and award processes had been completed, the Etxaniz centre, the first with the EtxeTIC model, will start its activity in the coming weeks. Etxaniz will provide support to 25 people in conventional daycare centre places and to some 750 people who live close to the centre. Bizkaia Provincial Council's plans include the deployment of the EtxeTIC model throughout the region, with the extension of the model to centres in urban and rural environments.

    Bizkaia currently has 21,245 people in a situation of dependency with care in the family environment who currently receive an economic benefit for home-based care. The objective set by the provincial institution is, via the deployment of EtxeTIC, a territorial coverage of 50% of these people by 2023.

    After the Etxaniz centre in Bilbao, the next to join the EtxeTIC model will be two more centres: a new one in Zalla for the Enkarterri region, transferred by the town Council, and another in Etxebarri, which will result from the transformation of the town’s current daycare centre and will provide support for the municipality and the neighbouring area of Bilbao.

    The provincial Council will invest more than €22.5 million during the 2021-2023 period for the Development of the EtxeTIC model.

  2. Co-residential units in residential centres (as a strategy for greater personalisation of residential care)

    Bizkaia Provincial Council is already providing firm support for the development of co-residential units of up to 25 people in residential centres, fostering more personalised support, which are the closest thing to a home, open to the community, and which respond to the diverse needs, desires and expectations of people who require support.

    The co-residential units are already planned for and contained in current regulations (Article 24 of Decree 126/2019, within the scope of the Basque Autonomous Community), and the provincial Institution is materialising this support by launching various public policy tools, such as: the Provincial Decree regulating the co-residential units (published in Bizkaia's Official Gazette on 31/08/2021) and the inclusion of co-residential units in the new agreement on residential places (published in Bizkaia's Official Gazette on 30/07/2021).

    The development of co-residential units will be a gradual, progressive process with support from Bizkaia Provincial Council. In this respect, a training programme has already been launched with residential centres through education sessions that will be carried out during the last 4-month period of this year (the first session took place last Friday, 17 September).

    The objective set by Bizkaia Provincial Council is to have 35% of co-residential units available in Bizkaia's provincial network of residential centres by the year 2023. The provincial budget for the development of the Co-residential units over the next two years approaches €113 million.

  3. County referral centres (as support units for the residential network as a whole)

    In order to support the provincial network of residential centres, the provincial plan envisions the launch of up to a total of 4 county referral centres that will act as support for the residential network as a whole, organised into co-residential units.

    These teams will provide specialised community healthcare support services by means of a multidisciplinary team of professionals, with shared procedures, specialised resources and preferential communication with the Healthcare system to ensure coordination between the two systems in the development of care provision processes.

    The progress of this strategic axis is being materialised through a framework collaboration protocol that involves the Healthcare system, via the Integrated Healthcare Organisations (OSI in Spanish) and the Santa Marina Hospital, and Bizkaia Provincial Council. In this respect, professionals from the Department of Social Policy and the Department of Health have been working since May on the initial pilot of this project at Birjinetxe as a community healthcare unit with a specific team to support residential centres in Bilbao, with the participation of the Santa Marina Hospital and OSI Bilbao-Basurto.

    The project will be expanded with the creation of support teams in the rest of the social services sectors of Bizkaia -Enkarterri-Ezkerraldea, Uribe and Barrualde- which, along with the Community Healthcare units of these same areas, will become a county referral centre for the areas residencies. The Provincial Council expects to budget more than 43 million euros during the 2021-2023 period for the development of this axis.

  4. Improvement in the training of professionals in the field of care

    Bizkaia provincial Council has established as the fourth strategic objective the improvement of the professional qualifications of staff in residential centres, through training. For the provincial Institution, raising the qualifications of professionals is key to raise the quality of the care provided, adapting the knowledge, skills and work dynamics to personalised care, and to likewise create qualified job opportunities in a market niche with forecasts of significant growth.

    To achieve this, the Provincial Government's Department for Social Policy and the Department for Employment, Social Inclusion and Equality are working jointly on the design of a line of action oriented towards upskilling the professionals working in the sector, in order to guarantee the availability of qualified professionals in the medium term.

    This effort will materialise with the launch in the coming weeks of a specialised training programme aimed at people from the geriatric care field who work in residential centres for older people in Bizkaia (Intermediate Level Degree in care for people in a situation of dependency, Certificate of Professionalism in community healthcare support for people at home, and training in new specialities and professional skills). In addition, there will be grants for annual contracts for unemployed people who substitute those carrying out the above-mentioned training. All of these actions will receive a three-year investment of 5.4 million euros, which will provide 16,000 hours of training.

The General Deputy of Bizkaia shared the key aspects and the advancements of the provincial strategy with the sector's main agents: members of the Older People's Council of Bizkaia, families, professionals from public entities managing social services within the Historical Territory of Bizkaia; professionals from the Department of Health and from Osakidetza; managers from the coordination bodies (Territorial Community Healthcare Council of Bizkaia, Interinstitutional Board of Social Services of Bizkaia, Permanent Commission of Centres…); Social Intervention Ethics Committee of Bizkaia; representatives from Professional Associations of Bizkaia (Doctors, Psychology, Social Work, Nursing and Architects) and from the Basque Geriatrics and Gerontology Association. The event, which took place at the BEC in Barakaldo, was also attended by professionals from the provincial Departments of Social Policy and from Employment, Social Inclusion and Equality, from the Provincial Institute of Social Care (IFAS in Spanish) and by experts with extensive experience in the field of long-term care.


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