Swedish experience of serving elderly people in rural areas
In sparsely populated areas of Sweden, mainly in rural areas, municipalities have faced difficulties in providing social assistance to the population, due to their remoteness. An attempt to find a solution to this problem led to the involvement of the postal service in direct participation in the provision of social assistance to the elderly population in rural areas.
Currently, in rural areas, Swedish postmen, in addition to their duties for additional remuneration, carry out a number of functions related to the tasks of the social service. Traditionally, rural postmen, moving around the site on cars, act as a mobile post office: they deliver mail, accept, process and pay out money transfers, bank deposits, sell envelopes, receive telegrams, parcels and perform other postal duties directly at the place of residence.
Every rural postman is found on his territory with people, but at least several times a month. In this regard, he is well aware of not only the housing conditions, but also the needs of the elderly in social assistance. He, in particular, can be the first to notice the deterioration in health and the need for medical care. Can see how well the house is, whether there is firewood, who brings water), 'whether a car is needed for trips and whether there are no need for helpers at home, nurses. With the participation of the rural postal service, older people can receive more social assistance, and in this case the time for their relocation to nursing homes is delayed, they can live longer in their own home, which has a beneficial effect on their well-being.
The organizational participation of the Swedish postal service in the provision of social services to the population was formalized in 1974 by a special framework agreement between the postal service general director and the national ministry of social security. It provided for the possibility of concluding contracts for the performance by rural postmen of part of the social work in the area served by them.
Currently, these contracts include the following social services performed by postmen:
• Delivery of goods at home. The postman is pre-ordered, the total weight of which should not exceed 10 kg. The goods are usually purchased in the store closest to the place of residence and are delivered in the course of daily mail delivery;
• visiting at home elderly people. These visits are carried out by postmen at the request of the social welfare service. They can be regular if the postman is entrusted with the care of the elderly, and can be of a one-time nature, for example, if it is necessary to fill out some form of registration;
• service contacts of social workers with people who need help. In this case, postmen inform the municipal authorities about the situation and condition of the elderly and elderly people on their site.
Municipalities annually organize special meetings with postmen to inform them about the tasks and features of social work in the coming year. In turn, rural postmen annually submit a report on the houses and their owners on the serviced site with an enclosed scheme of travel to them. This report contains detailed information for the social workers of the municipality and forms the basis for planning social workers' visits to retirees.
Since annual reports can not reflect current changes in health status and the emerging need for additional assistance, rural postmen are obligated at certain days and hours of the week to inform social workers by phone about the need for such assistance. In addition, there is an emergency telephone service with the municipality in case of emergency, requiring immediate measures to assist the elderly and the elderly.
The municipality for the performance of social services lists the post office the fee specified in the contract. For regular contacts with persons listed on the municipality's list, the postman receives a monthly fee. With a single visit to the elderly at home, the postman receives a reward for each such visit. Also, each delivery of sets of goods to the house for the elderly and the elderly is paid separately. In this case, the store owner contributes half of the specified fee.
In order for rural postmen to be able to perform certain functions of the social service in a qualified manner and act as a liaison between persons in need of assistance and municipalities, special training of rural postmen was organized in Sweden for this activity.
According to Swedish experts, the use of the forces and capabilities of the postal service in rural areas is a good way to improve the social services of elderly and elderly people living there.
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