The main purpose of the project is to improve home care services for the elderly through innovative quantitative methods applied to supply chain and logistics problems in the field. This will help decision-makers, policymakers, and care managers to make better decisions leading to a positive impact on society in terms of health, social benefit, and cost-efficiency.
The cost associated with home care services is high and is growing, and the resources are limited. Therefore, it is clear the need of optimizing them. This project allows the development of decision-making tools that lead to better-integrated home care for elderly people and to a cost reduction. It focuses on the increasing ageing population and the need of optimizing home care services to fulfil their wellness. The idea is to guarantee their quality of life through better use of limited resources, allowing to extend the benefits of these home cares to this increasing population.
Barcelona has been selected as a local case study (thanks to an agreement with Barcelona’s City Council), although systems and results can be extended to other larger regions. The projections by the Spanish Statistics Office suggest the over-65s will make up more than 25% of the population by 2033, i.e., almost 12 million people, of whom near 4 million will be over-80s. This is a common tendency in European countries. Consequently, home care service costs have increased. Although the project will be developed in two years, researchers plan to extend the results to other regions in the future, adapting the methods to their singularities.
This project contributes to the reduction of inequality from two main points of view:
- Access to public home care. Better use of resources involves more people who can benefit from these services, reducing the waiting list.
- The difference between public and private home care. An improvement in the quality of service thanks to this project leads to public services more similar to private services which can only be accessed by people with enough resources to afford them.
In this sense, the SDG related to this project are Goal 1 (End poverty in all its forms everywhere), Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and Goal 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries). Regarding Goal 1, access to basic services for people with less resources is improved (target 1.4). Regarding Goal 3, better access to quality essential health-care services is achieved (target 3.8). Finally, regarding Goal 10, this project promotes social and economic inclusion (target 10.2).