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Healthcare and Elderly Care in Sweden

Healthcare and Elderly Care in Sweden

12 percent of Sweden’s population is foreign-born, with large numbers of expats living and working in Stockholm. One of the reasons expats choose Sweden is an excellent healthcare system.

What makes Sweden an attractive choice for expats is that they are entitled to receive the same health care, education, and welfare benefits as the native population.

The most noteworthy feature of the healthcare system in Sweden is the availability of healthcare for all, including both native citizens and expats. One feature of the Swedish healthcare system that appeals to retirees is the short waiting period for major surgeries. Once a specialist confirms that you require surgery the waiting time can’t exceed 90 days till surgery. In case the waiting period will exceed 90 days the council will pay the bill for the surgery plus travel costs to wherever you choose to get treatment.

Healthcare coverage in Sweden is universal, which means all residents, including expatriates, have access to publically financed healthcare services. This system covers inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drugs, primary healthcare, dental care for children and young people, public health and preventive services, disability support, and rehabilitation services.

In addition, home care, nursing home care, and patient transport support services are also covered under the publicly financed healthcare system.

The fee for a hospital stay is SEK 80 (USD 11, EUR 8) per day for the first ten days, and SEK 60 thereafter. Patient fees for primary care vary between SEK 100 and 200 depending on the county council. For specialist visits, there is an additional fee of a maximum SEK 350.

After a patient has paid a total of between SEK 900 and 1,100 (depending on area of residence) in the course of a year, medical consultations within 12 months of the first consultation are free of charge. There is a similar ceiling for prescription medication, so nobody pays more than SEK 2,200 in a given 12-month period. One exception is Stockholm, where the maximum sum payable is SEK 1,800.

Life expectancy in Sweden is among the highest in the world partially due to the good healthcare offered in Sweden. In 2010, it was 79.1 years for men and 83.2 years for women.

As older people prefer to stay at home as long as possible instead of moving into a nursing home Sweden offers multiple ways to get help at home. For example, almost all municipalities in Sweden offer ready-cooked meals that can be home-delivered. Elderly people with disabilities can receive assistance around the clock, which means that many are able to remain at home throughout their lives. The severely ill, too, can be provided with health and social care in their own homes.

If you are unable to drive yourself or use public transportation you might qualify for transportation services in taxis or specially adapted vehicles.

To keep the elderly healthy and active Sweden came up with some ideas for preventive care as well like physical activity on prescription where older people are prescribed not just exercise in general but a certain type of physical activity, sometimes in combination with medication, with doctors monitoring the results.

Many injuries among older people occur while they are doing chores at home. To avoid injuries due to falls special municipal ‘fixers’ help with things like curtain-hanging and changing light bulbs in the home.

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