A Recommended Package of Long-Term Care Services to Promote Healthy Ageing Based on a WHO Global Expert Consensus Study

J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021 Dec 30;S1525-8610(21)01072-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2021.12.019. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: To reach consensus on a minimum list of long-term care (LTC) interventions to be included in a service package delivered through universal health coverage (UHC).

Design: A multistep expert consensus process.

Setting and participants: Multinational and multidisciplinary experts in LTC and ageing.

Methods: The consensus process was composed of 3 stages: (1) a preconsultation round that built on an initial list of LTC interventions generated by a previous scoping review; (2) 2-round surveys to reach consensus on important, acceptable, and feasible interventions for LTC; (3) a panel meeting to finalize the consensus.

Results: The preconsultation round generated an initial list of 117 interventions. In round 1, 194 experts were contacted and 92 (47%) completed the survey. In round 2, the same experts contacted for round 1 were invited, and 115 (59%) completed the survey. Of the 115 respondents in round 2, 80 participated in round 1. Experts representing various disciplines (eg, geriatricians, family doctors, nurses, mental health, and rehabilitation professionals) participated in round 2, representing 42 countries. In round 1, 81 interventions achieved the predetermined threshold for importance, and in round 2, 41 interventions achieved the predetermined threshold for acceptability and feasibility. Nine conflicting interventions between rounds 1 and 2 were discussed in the panel meeting. The recommended list composed of 50 interventions were from 6 domains: unpaid and paid carers' support and training, person-centered assessment and care planning, prevention and management of intrinsic capacity decline, optimization of functional ability, interventions needing focused attention, and palliative care.

Conclusions and implications: An international discussion and consensus process generated a minimum list of LTC interventions to be included in a service package for UHC. This package will enable actions toward a more robust framework for integrated services for older people in need of LTC across the continuum of care.

Keywords: Long-term care; health services for the aged; universal health care.