Objectives: This paper addresses recent steps for reforming the eligibility criteria of the German long-term care insurance that have been initiated to overcome shortcomings in the current system.
Methods: Based on findings of a survey of international long-term care systems, assessment tools and the relevant literature on care needs a new tool for determining eligibility in the German long-term care insurance was developed.
Results: The new tool for determining long-term care eligibility broadens the understanding of what 'dependency on nursing care' implies for the person affected. The assessment results in a degree of dependency from personal help provided by formal or informal caregivers. This degree of dependency can be used for determining eligibility for and the amount of long-term care benefits.
Discussion: The broader understanding of 'dependency on nursing care' and the new tool are important steps to adapt the German long-term care insurance to the challenges of the demographic and societal changes in the future.
Keywords: Germany; Long-term care; assessment tool; eligibility criteria.