Planning future care services: Analyses of investments in Norwegian municipalities
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Aims: To analyse whether the Norwegian Central Government’s goal of subsidizing 12,000 places in nursing homes or sheltered housing using an earmarked grant was reached and to determine towards which group of users the planned investments were targeted. Methods: Data from the investment plans at municipal level were provided by the Norwegian Housing Bank and linked to variables describing the municipalities’ financial situation as well as variables describing the local needs for services provided by Statistics Norway. Using regression analyses we estimated the associations between municipal characteristics and planned investments in total and by type of care place. Results: The Norwegian Central Government reached its goal of giving subsidies to 12,000 new or rebuilt places in nursing homes and sheltered housing. A total of 54% of the subsidies (6878 places) were given to places in nursing homes. About 7500 places were available by the end of the planning period and the rest were under construction. About 50% of the places were planned for user groups aged <67 years and 23% of the places for users aged <25 years. One-third of the places were planned for users with intellectual disabilities. Investments in nursing homes were correlated with the share of the population older than 80 years and investments in sheltered houses were correlated with the share of users with intellectual disabilities. Conclusions: Earmarked grants to municipalities can be adequate measures to affect local resource allocation and thereby stimulate investments in future care. With the current institutional setup the municipalities adapt investments to local needs.