2005: Home care
Legislation relating to the provision of home care services
There are three main pieces of legislation relevant to the provision of home care services in Bulgaria:
- The Social Assistance Act of 19 May 1999 (amended on 29 December 2002 and by the Regulations for Implementation of the Social Assistance Act)
- Regulations for the Social Service of Persons and Families
- Ordinance No. 4 of 16 March 1999
Within Bulgarian cultural tradition, it is considered the duty of families to take care of their elderly relatives even though this is not a legal obligation.
Organisation and financing of home care services
The municipalities are responsible for providing home care services which they call family care services. The provision of such services is regulated by the Social Assistance Act as well as by the Regulations for the Social Service of Persons and Families and Ordinance No. 4.
In accordance with the Regulations for Implementation of the Social Assistance Act, family care services assess the needs of each person, state the goals to be achieved and draw up an individual care plan. Every six months, the plan is checked and modified if necessary.
Eligibility criteria for family care services include being over 60, being unable to care for oneself, having no relatives and not having signed a contract for ceding property in return for financial support and/or care. This is stipulated in Ordinance No. 4 of 16 March 1999. The Regulations for the Social Service of Persons and Families cover the provision of family care services to people over 65 years old. However, generally speaking priority is given to people over the age of 75, particularly those living alone or whose income is less than the social pension.
Some people who are eligible for home care services such as cleaning do not take up the offer as they cannot afford the cleaning materials.
Kinds of home care services available
Article 5 of the Regulations for the Social Service of Persons and Families mentions the following home care services (amongst others):
- Monitoring of health
- Assistance receiving medical assistance
- Provision of bedding, clothes and shoes (according to current standards for people lacking private means living in homes)
- Small repairs in the home and of household appliances (carried out by an electrician or plumber)
- Entertainment and pursuits
- Purchase of food and necessities (using the person’s own money)
Ordinance No. 4 of 16.03.1999 refers to the following home care services:
- Personal hygiene (e.g. daily washing, putting on incontinence pads, bathing a few times a week, other tasks linked to personal hygiene)
- Home cleaning (e.g. washing the dishes, cleaning rooms)
- Assistance obtaining necessary aids
- Help with interaction and social contacts (e.g. conversations, strolls, reading)
- Entertainment in and out of the home (e.g. organising celebrations)
- Paying bills (e.g. electricity, heating, telephone) with the person’s own money
Regional (municipal) social assistance centres exist which also provide family care services e.g. day care centres for the elderly and organize social activities.
- Dimova, L. and Dimov, M. (2004), National Background Report for Bulgaria, EUROFAMCARE, http://www.uke.uni-hamburg.de/extern/eurofamcare/documents/ nabare_bulgaria_rc1_a4.pdf
Last Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2009