The late 1980s saw Denmark’s approach to elderly care change significantly. The sole focus on nursing homes has given way to significant emphasis on empowering elderly citizens to remain self-reliant in their own homes for as long as possible. Allowing elderly citizens to stay as long as possible in their own homes with a high quality of life relies on an extensive home nursing system in close cooperation with GPs and hospitals.
Home care nurses also provide treatment and care for people who are temporarily or chronically ill or dying. Some municipalities have set up special units where citizens, who do not require hospitalization but are unable to stay in their own home, can stay for shorter periods of time and receive intensive treatment and care from trained nurses.
All municipalities offer their elderly citizens preventive home visits. Such visits improve prevention and health promotion efforts by providing advice and guidance on activities and supporting opportunities to maintain and improve well-being and functional ability in elderly citizens. Among other things, the preventive efforts can focus on specific themes, for example loneliness, fall prevention, security, nutrition, physical activity, etc.
Over the past few years, the municipality of Odense in the Region of Southern Denmark has made preventive home visits more structured in order to get a better empirical foundation for further collaboration with citizens. This includes a structured questionnaire implemented on a digital platform (the online mailbox, e-Boks, which all Danish citizens use to communicate with public authorities). The questionnaire can be filled out by the citizen either prior to or during a visit. If the citizen reports having a particular challenge, additional questions will unfold to further determine the need for help, paving the way for specific preventive efforts.