DKV-Report 2018 – Germans and long-term care: care robots are no substitute for professional nursing staff


Press Release, 10.07.2018

The German long-term care system is facing significant challenges: rising costs triggered by the demographic development and a dramatic lack of specialised staff are having a serious impact and compromising the ability to provide adequate professional care. One solution could be the use of robot systems, which in the coming years could perform simple, routine, physically demanding tasks. According to the latest DKV Report, Germans – and younger people in particular – have a largely pragmatic approach to the idea of healthcare robots.

According to current forecasts, by the end of this year long-term care insurance expenditure will have risen to nearly 41 billion euros, up from 31 billion euros at the beginning of 2016. Currently, the nursing care sector is urgently seeking 15,000 qualified nursing staff for elderly patients. At present there are only 21 applicants for every 100 vacancies, and the situation is set to get even worse. Average life expectancy in Germany continues to rise, and the number of people requiring care is increasing. There are currently almost three million people in Germany who depend on long-term nursing care.

Yes to technology, but not at any price
Given this situation, nursing care robots could play a central role. According to the DKV Report, two thirds of Germans could envisage robot systems being used to support nursing staff. Respondents in the survey believed that the use of robot-based assistance systems was a potential option to alleviate the shortage of skilled staff and address rising costs. The younger generation in particular is very open to the use of technological support systems in nursing care. In the group of 18 to 29-year-olds, one in three said they believed that nurses could be supported by robot systems.

The German long-term care system is facing significant challenges: rising costs triggered by the demographic development and a dramatic lack of specialised staff are having a serious impact and compromising the ability to provide adequate professional care. One solution could be the use of robot systems, which in the coming years could perform simple, routine, physically demanding tasks. According to the latest DKV Report, Germans – and younger people in particular – have a largely pragmatic approach to the idea of healthcare robots.

According to current forecasts, by the end of this year long-term care insurance expenditure will have risen to nearly 41 billion euros, up from 31 billion euros at the beginning of 2016. Currently, the nursing care sector is urgently seeking 15,000 qualified nursing staff for elderly patients. At present there are only 21 applicants for every 100 vacancies, and the situation is set to get even worse. Average life expectancy in Germany continues to rise, and the number of people requiring care is increasing. There are currently almost three million people in Germany who depend on long-term nursing care.

Yes to technology, but not at any price
Given this situation, nursing care robots could play a central role. According to the DKV Report, two thirds of Germans could envisage robot systems being used to support nursing staff. Respondents in the survey believed that the use of robot-based assistance systems was a potential option to alleviate the shortage of skilled staff and address rising costs. The younger generation in particular is very open to the use of technological support systems in nursing care. In the group of 18 to 29-year-olds, one in three said they believed that nurses could be supported by robot systems.

“Long-term care is an increasingly pressing concern in our society”, says Dr Clemens Muth, Chief Executive Officer of DKV. “In future, modern technologies could be an attractive, proven means of decreasing cost pressure and tackling the shortage of skilled staff, hence relieving the burden on nursing staff in their everyday work.”

The results of the DKV Report also clearly show that people believe there are limits to the deployment of nursing robots: three quarters of those surveyed said that allowing robots to make central decisions instead of nursing staff would be a step too far.

Living an independent life for longer
Although people are getting older, they are often in need of support and depend on professional nursing care in the final years of their lives. Patients whose ability to participate in social life is limited or non-existent often feel lonely and excluded. Despite the widespread coverage of cute robotic animals as toys, Germans do not believe that robot-assisted technology is a solution for nursing care issues: more than one in two people who took part in the DKV Report believe that the use of robots in nursing care would make patients feel increasingly isolated.

“First and foremost, it must be about maintaining health and independence for as long as possible”, emphasises Ingo Froböse, professor at the German Sports University in Cologne and scientific director of the DKV report. “A healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of diseases such as diabetes, stroke or cancer and plays a key role in keeping the muscular system healthy, even at an advanced age. The aim must be to prepare nutrition and exercise plans that are tailored to each individual and which are designed to achieve optimum outcomes.”

This year’s DKV Report was carried out by the market research institute GfK in Nuremberg and representatively surveyed 2,830 people across Germany on their lifestyle habits. The DKV Report will be published within the next few weeks.

For further information, please contact:

Ronny Winkler

ERGO Group AG
Media Relations

Tel +49 211 477-3012
Fax +49 211 477-3113
ronny.winkler@ergo.de
media-relations@ergo.de

About DKV

For over 90 years, the DKV has been a pioneer in the industry with needs-orientated and innovative products. The health specialist provides comprehensive health and nursing care insurance coverage, as well as health care services to customers in private and state health insurance, and organises high-quality medical care. In 2017, the company recorded a premium income of 4.85 billion euros.
DKV is the health insurance specialist of the ERGO Group and thus part of Munich Re, one of the world's leading reinsurers and risk carriers. More at www.dkv.com  

Disclaimer

This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of the management of DKV Deutsche Krankenversicherung. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our Company. The Company assumes no liability to update these forwardlooking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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