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Legislative frameworks for residential care facilities in Europe

2017: Standards for Residential Care Facilities

Legislative frameworks for residential care facilities in Europe

Table 3 (on the attached page) shows an overview of the regulatory framework for residential care facilities by country. In the majority of the cases, the main responsibility for regulating and monitoring the care provided in these facilities lies in the central government. However, in a number of countries (e.g. Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Sweden) this function is de-centralised.

In some countries (e.g. Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden), the main regulatory requirements that residential care facilities have to meet are covered by legislation for health and social services. Likewise, in the UK (England), the standards apply to all services registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that carry on regulated activities (e.g. residential care facilities, hospitals, hospices and community support facilities). Nevertheless, in many other countries, there is a regulatory framework which is specific for residential care facilities. Belgium (Wallonia), has different requirements for care homes for older people with lower dependency needs and nursing homes for older people with higher levels of dependency.  Likewise, in the UK (Northern Ireland), two different sets of standards exist i.e. Minimum Standards for residential care homes and Care Standards for nursing homes [1]. Both sets of standards in Northern Ireland were written under the provisions of Article 38 of the Health and Personal Social Services (Quality Improvement and Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003.


[1] In Northern Ireland, nursing homes are for people who have a disability or illness that means the person needs nursing care on a frequent basis.

Table 3: Regulatory framework by country

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Last Updated: Tuesday 28 May 2019