25 What are long-term care choices in the older population?


Long-term care must be developed to meet the requirements of a growing number of older persons. Several options are possible, from care at home to institutional care. Which option does the older population, first concerned by chronic dependence, consider most appropriate?

Portrait / project description (ongoing research project)

This study is based on a cohort of some 3,000 community-dwelling older persons (aged 68-83) living in Lausanne, who will be contacted by letter. To evaluate the preferred type of long-term care, ten hypothetical cases of frail individuals will be presented for whom the participants will be asked to choose the best care option. The cases distinguish the location at which care is given (nursing home, sheltered housing, own home) and the caregivers (spouse or healthcare professional). The influence of factors such as age, level of education, knowledge of home care services and presence of functional difficulties will then be analysed. Moreover, the study will seek to determine whether preferences change over time, and how these changes might be explained.


Needs for long-term care will increase significantly in the future. When different types of intervention are possible, it is important that services be available allowing patients to make a choice in order to maintain the quality of life of both dependent persons and their relatives. Older persons are particularly at risk of being faced with chronic dependence, either personally or as spouse caregivers. However, their preferences are still not well understood.


The study aims to pinpoint the types of long-term care that are preferred by older citizens according to their situation. Factors likely to affect their opinions, such as gender, age and general state of health, will be examined. Changes to these preferences over time and underlying reasons will also be analysed.

Relevance / Application

The findings are intended to the cantons’ public health departments. Taking the opinions of the older population into account may help better tailor long-term care services to demand and reduce costs associated with not meeting needs satisfactorily. Use of the findings is already anticipated to improve long-term care planning in the canton of Vaud.

Original title

Preference for long-term care options in community-dwelling older adults

Project leader


  • Prof. Brigitte Santos-Eggimann MD, DrPH, MPH, Institut Universitaire de Médecine Sociale et Préventive, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois



Further information on this content


Prof. Dr. Brigitte Santos-Eggimann CHUV centre hospitalier universitaire vaudois Chef de l'Unité des services de santé IUMSP - Institut Universitaire de Médecine Sociale et Préventive Biopôle 2
Route de la Corniche 10
1010 Lausanne +41 21 314 97 52