With the company as a model? About municipal home care services in a marketized elderly care
This project investigates how the municipal home care services act in a context of competition from private providers. The question is whether and how the municipalities use strategies to develop their home care services in this context.
The purpose of the project is to describe and explain the design, reception and implementation of strategies for public home care services within a marketized elderly care. The project consists of cases studies of six municipalities and an empirical analysis of interviews and documents.
After the introduction of the Act on System of Choice (LOV) in 2009, a market has developed in many Swedish municipalities with different providers of home care services: private, public and non-profit. The question is how the municipalities work with strategies to develop the public home care services in this context. The purpose of the project is to describe and explain the design, reception and implementation of strategies for public home care services within a marketized elderly care. The following research questions are answered in the project: (a) Have the municipalities developed any strategies? If so, is it an expression of a learning either converging or diverging in relation to private providers? (b) How have the strategies been perceived by the recipients; i.e. have the strategies been important for the elderly and their choice of public providers? (c) Have the strategies been implemented by staff in public home care services: can they, will they and do they understand the implementation of the strategies?
The project consists of cases studies of six municipalities and an empirical analysis of interviews and documents. The study departures from the literature on the marketization of elderly care. We mean that this literature has focused primarily on private and non-profit providers in home care service, while public performers have been "taken for granted" and thus not investigated. We use organization theory to analyse the municipal strategies for elderly care. Our theoretical contribution, therefore, is to develop an approach that draws attention to municipal strategies for the public provider within a marketized elderly care. Strategies are a prerequisite for achieving a good quality in elderly care. At the same time, there is a risk that when public activities too excessively copy solutions from private actors fundamental democratic values might be threatened.