An Overview of Potential Labor-Saving and Quality-Improving Innovations in Long-Term Care for Older People

T. Thoma-Lürken*, M.H.C. Bleijlevens, M.A.S. Lexis, J.P.H. Hamers, L.P. de Witte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Increasing demands in long-term care for older people and a decrease in workforce availability can be expected in the future. These developments challenge the sustainability and quality of long-term care for older people. To address these challenges, long-term care organizations are forced to innovate. The aim of this study is to provide an overview of potential labor-saving and quality-improving innovations long-term care organizations are working on and to assess the self-reported extent of effectiveness.

Design: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study.

Methods: In total, 32 long-term care organizations in the region of Limburg in The Netherlands were invited to participate in the study. The inventory was performed by means of semistructured interviews with chief executive officers, managers, and staff members of the long-term care organizations. Based on the interview data, all innovations were described in a standardized form and subsequently checked by the participants. All innovations were clustered into product, process, organizational, and marketing innovations.

Results: In total, 26 long-term care organizations delivering home and/or institutional long-term care for older people participated in the study. Overall, 228 innovations were identified; some innovations were described in a similar way by different organizations. The majority of innovations were product innovations (n = 96), followed by organizational innovations (n = 75), and process innovations (n = 42). In addition to the main types, 15 other innovations incorporating characteristics of different types of innovations were detected. Little evidence about the effectiveness of the innovations was reported by the organizations.

Conclusions: This study shows that a large number and a broad variety of innovations have been implemented or are currently being developed in long-term care organizations for older people. However, according to the organizations, there is relatively little (scientific) evidence confirming the effectiveness of these innovations. More research is needed to evaluate the effects of the innovations and to indicate whether they provide real solutions to future challenges. (C) 2015 AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-489
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Long-term care
  • older people
  • innovation
  • labor-saving
  • quality-improving


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