24. October 2019
// Care Worldwide

High quality standards and major challenges

Head of Export Dorian Klusmann on the situation of nursing care in France

Stiegelmeyer's French subsidiary operates in a particularly beautiful and centrally located region. The municipality of Lissieu north of Lyon belongs to the Beaujolais wine-growing region and offers visitors two castles and a historic church. Two employees look after the Stiegelmeyer office here, four sales employees are spread all over France. A special focus is the furnishing of nursing homes. How is nursing care organised in France? We talked about this with Dorian Klusmann, the Head of Export at Stiegelmeyer.

"Half of the nursing homes in France are run by the state via the districts (departements) and the other half by private companies," explains Mr Klusmann. Most private homes belong to groups that also operate internationally and are among the largest in Europe, e.g. Korian, Orpéa and DomusVi. Stiegelmeyer cooperates with the operator LNA Santé (Noble Age), which offers around 4,400 beds in France and stands for particularly high quality and comfortably furnished rooms.

State care level system

Although there is no compulsory long-term care insurance in France as in Germany, people in need of long-term care receive the so-called "Allocation personnalisée d'autonomie" (APA, personal care service) from the state. As in Germany, the level of this support depends on a care level system.

The Trinational Competence Centre (TRISAN) has compiled a lot of data on this. In 2015, for example, a total of just under 1.3 million French people received nursing care services for a population of 66 million. This is a much smaller proportion than in Germany, where 2.9 million people in need of nursing care services were registered with 82 million inhabitants in the same year. The TRISAN study assumes that the actual number of people in need of long-term care is also higher in France.

Similar to Germany, the majority of French people in need of care are cared for at home by relatives and mobile services. Only in the age group 85+ are nursing home residents slightly ahead.

Less expensive demography

France does not face such major demographic problems as Germany, as the birth rate of our western neighbours has always been much higher. Although it has recently decreased in France and risen again in Germany, women still give birth to an average of 1.9 children in France and only 1.5 in Germany. But statisticians in France also expect the age group 65+ to grow from 18% in 2013 to 26% in 2040.

These figures represent a challenge, as a shortage of nursing staff also prevails in France, as Dorian Klusmann reports. Room maintenance is often one of the tasks of nursing staff in nursing homes. This explains why suppliers of care furniture have to pay attention to particularly easy cleaning. One example is "floor access" care beds that do not have metal struts on the chassis so that the caregiver can quickly wipe or sweep under the bed.

State purchasing associations

France is a promising but also challenging nursing care market. The state nursing homes select their products from the catalogues of public purchasing associations. At present, the "Union des groupements d'achats publics" (UGAP, Union of Public Procurement Groups) is again holding a major tender. This association, headed by the Ministries of Finance and Education, is responsible for equipping public facilities from schools to fire stations. Another association specialised in hospitals and nursing homes is called "Réseau des acheteurs hospitaliers" (Resah, Network of Hospital Buyers). The purchasing associations issue tenders for lots ranging from universal seating furniture to special psychiatric facilities. They have very precise ideas and set high standards in terms of quality and prices.

High quality also prevails in many private and church-run nursing homes. Thus, Stiegelmeyer was just able to equip seven nursing homes of the "Petites sœurs des pauvres" (small sisters of the poor) with altogether 360 Libra care beds. The residents benefit from divided safety sides, ease of use and the homelike appearance of the beds. Of course, the promise of 15 years' availability of spare parts for our products also applies in France. France and Stiegelmeyer – Dorian Klusmann and his team do everything in their power to ensure that this relationship becomes a long-lasting histoire d'amour.

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