PARIS, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Sweden's healthcare and elderly care deserve their reputation as one of the best in the world, but it's being tested by its aging population, researchers say.
A report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris said Sweden's growing elderly population with its chronic conditions that require more complex health services are testing Sweden's ability to continue delivering high-quality care.
The OECD Health Care Quality Review of Sweden said the Scandinavian country has a larger share of elderly people than most OECD countries: 5.2 percent of its population is age 80 and older, compared to the average of OECD countries of 4.2 percent.
Spending on elderly care in Sweden is 3.6 percent of gross national product, compared with an OECD average of 1.7 percent. The country also has the highest number of care workers for the elderly per capita, and they deliver care where it is generally most wanted -- at home. Seven-of-10 dependent elderly people receive care in their homes, the report said.
The quality of healthcare in Sweden is generally good, the report said. For example, the rates of avoidable hospitalization for chronic conditions such as asthma was 22.2 per 100 000 population were among the lowest in the OECD, which has an average of 45.8 per 100,000.
Ninety percent of people using primary care in Sweden said they were treated with respect and consideration by staff.
However, the co-ordination of care for patients with complex needs could be improved. Fewer than half of patients with type 1 diabetes have their blood pressure adequately controlled. Only 1-in-6 patients had contact with a physician or specialist nurse after the discharge from hospital for a stroke.
Hospitalization for uncontrolled diabetes of the elderly age 80 and older was among the highest in the OECD, and around 1.5 times higher than in Denmark.