As Taiwan grapples with rapidly falling birth rates and a fast-graying population, the country crossed the threshold for an aged society in March 2018, and is on course to become a hyper-aged society by 2026 when one out of five people will be age 65 or older. To satisfy the enormous need for long-term care and mitigate the burden of family caregivers, the government launched the 10-year long-term care 2.0 plan on January 1, 2017, followed by a new subsidy schedule in 2018 to support the contract-based service provider system. These moves will create a quality, affordable and accessible long-term care system for the people of Taiwan.
Features of the 2.0 plan
■ Three-tier, community-based system to promote aging in place: To provide the public with integrated, flexible and convenient care services close to home, the plan established a three-tier system consisting of community-based integrated service centers (Tier A), combined service centers (Tier B), and long-term care stations in alleys and lanes (Tier C).
■ Expanded coverage and services: In addition to people with disabilities age 65 or over, the plan covers members of indigenous communities age 55 or over, people with dementia age 50 or over, and individuals of any age affected by mental or physical disabilities. New services have also been added, ranging from early preventive care to minimize and delay the onset of disabilities, to palliative care later on in life.
■ Easy-to-find, easy-to-access services: Long-term care management centers and branch offices have been set up in 22 counties and cities across the nation, while a "1966" long-term care hotline has been activated.
■ New subsidy schedule, customized care plans: Long-term care services have been consolidated into four categories, and care plans can be tailored to the specific needs of each patient. Government subsidies are now paid according to the services provided—rather than simply the number of care hours—to increase efficiency of care delivery.