Sweden Health Social Care System Health And Social Care Essay

Swedens location on a map can be identified neighboring the countries Finland and Norway. Sweden is located in the northern area of the continent of Europe, and adjacent to many bodies of waters. Sweden has a steady population at roughly over 9 million residents. As we are called Americans here in the United States, citizens of Sweden are referred to by their nation as Swedes (Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], 2010).Sweden’s working culture is very interesting. Sweden’s government is very gracious towards work benefits for citizens with children. The United States Department of State (2009) reported, “parents are entitled to a total of 480 days’ paid leave at 80% of a government-determined salary cap between birth and child’s eighth birthday” (people, para. 4.). Religion in Sweden is also a part of society’s culture. There are a total of eight main religions to choose from currently within the country, however, Lutheran seems to be the preferred choice, with at least 87% of citizens choosing to practice under this religion as their preferred faith (CIA, 2010). Sweden’s government is built on a monarchy constitutional based system (CIA, 2010).

Health care is well structured in Sweden, according to the Health Systems in Transition (2005) “the Swedish health care system is organized at three levels: national, regional, and local” (Health Systems in Transition [HIT], 2005, p.2). In Sweden, residents are required to have health insurance. The government pays for their citizen’s health insurance through grants within the state, and taxes (HIT, 2005, p.4) In Sweden, it is not often seen that citizens pay for their own independent insurance. In fact, only 2.3% of the entire country was reported purchasing a private plan in 2003

(HIT, 2005, p.4). There are some flaws within Sweden’s health care system. Sweden has a shortage of doctors per patient ratio, which can cause some levels of frustrations when needing to see a specialist due to an average of 2.8 physicians available per person (HIT,2005, p.5). After stating the previous facts, the lack of physicians could possibly become a major concern within the country of Sweden; however, occupational therapy shows a great maturity level. According to Council of Occupational Therapist for the European Countries (2009), “today in Sweden, OT is well recognized as a practice built on sound scientific foundations” (Council of Occupational Therapist for the European Countries [COTEC], 2009, n.p). The amount of Occupational therapist available is positively steady. As of 2009, internationally Sweden is one of the top three leaders in Europe, with over 10,100 registered occupational therapist reported by the COTEC database (Council of Occupational therapist for the European Countries [COTEC], 2009, p.4). With this amount of Occupational therapists available for patient care, this number should be beneficial to carry out the focus and add contributions to this health profession.

In Sweden, the life expectancy is extraordinary. A Swede is expected to live an average life of 80 years. Statistics show that women are living longer, averaging 83 years compared to men only estimated at living until an average of 78 years (CIA, 2009). It is clear that the geriatric population is highly valued in Sweden. According to Swedish Institute (2007), “Sweden invests more of its gross domestic product in its elderly citizens than any other country in the world” (p.1). In Sweden, occupational therapists are sometimes compared to nurses. However, an occupational therapists focuses and concerns for the geriatric population are well understood within its profession. When referring to occupational therapist in Sweden Evertsson & Lindqist (2005) stated, “they aim to form alliances with neighboring welfare state professions in social services, health-care, and social care of the elderly and disabled” (p.266). After searching and reading through numerous research databases concerning occupational therapy in Sweden, majority of articles found were studies concerning the geriatric or disabled population, it can be understood that Sweden highly values these populations. In Sweden, researchers are trying to move this focus forward by contributing studies towards better interventions for elderly patients within the acute care setting. Researchers think, “occupational therapy should be considered a valuable resource in the acute care of elderly persons, facilitating the home situation and with a focus on enabling activity. Further larger studies evaluating occupational therapy interventions in acute care are required” (Wressle et al.,2006, p. 209).Sweden understands the need for occupational therapists in this population, researchers stated, ” we considered it an advantage to use occupational therapists with experience of geriatric wards, as need assessments, assistive devices, discharge-planning, and transfer of information to the next caregiver provide major dignity in geriatric care” (Wressle et al., 2006, p. 208).

In Sweden, there are a total of ten institutions offering a degree in occupational therapy. Many programs only provide a chance to receive a bachelors or masters (World Federation of Occupational Therapist [WFOT], 2009). In Sweden, occupational therapists do not have their own theoretical models. Researchers stated, “little is known about what theoretical references used in the occupational therapy practice”(Haglund, Ekbladh, Thorell & Hallberg, 2000, p. 108). Studies are being done to help further therapist’s understanding of what types of theoretical approaches or models are best when assessing a client. Programs in Sweden reference different countries models and theories in order to educate their therapist (Mulersdorf & Ivarson, 2008). In Sweden, occupational therapists strive to be to better by using the most resources available to them as possible, researchers suggest, ” professional thinking also helps the occupational therapist to explain the treatment to the client, which professionals in Sweden are obliged to do” (Haglund et al., 2000, p.107). It is clear that occupational therapy researchers in Sweden drive the importance of understanding the meaning of their profession in order to help improve as therapist. Researchers state, ” when occupational therapist approach patients it is important that occupational therapists can differentiate the meaning and content of occupation as used by patients and as used in the context of occupational therapy” (Mullersdorf & Ivarsson, 2008, p.42). As mentioned previously, Sweden is striving to create a theory of their own, but as of now, therapists admit in a previous study to using the Model of Human Occupation the most

(Haglund et al., 2000, p.112).

After searching databases, and finding ample amount of studies done with the geriatric and disabled population, it can be understood that research is constantly focused towards them. Occupational therapists think it is important to know how to continue to care for these patients. One particular study declared it is crucial to understand what occupational therapist can do to make these clients participate more in therapy sessions, researcher stated ” as indicated by the results of this study, knowledge about disabled people’s attitude to rehabilitation and support from the environment is important for the development of rehabilitation services, especially in view of the increasing number of elderly people”(Lilja, Bergh, Johansson & Nygard, 2003, p.88). Along with treating these clients occupational therapist in Sweden have been known to face ethical issues too. Kassberg & Skar (2008) stated “results showed that ethical dilemmas were common in the occupational therapists’ daily work, and many of the ethical situations were related to the work with clients and their relatives, and other healthcare providers”(p.206). Some settings need more studies to be done to help improve this professions’ outlook. In problematic therapy settings, “there are limited number of studies evaluating occupational therapy interventions in acute care” (Wressle et al. 2006). Besides problems within the acute care setting, researchers understand more studies are needed towards overall rehabilitation methods in order to move the knowledge of the already known forward. Researchers think, “Investigation of the significance of variables such as attitudes and perceived gains or risks following from rehabilitation in larger populations of elderly disabled people is another avenue for future research” (Lilja et al., 2003, p.91). With the previous statement being mentioned by the researchers, it can be understood that Sweden hopes to branch into more research and expand the focus towards the geriatric population further.

After reading all the previous mentioned research, conclusions can be drawn that Sweden’s occupational therapists are expected to see a growth in their geriatric population care. As a result of many journals published about geriatric and disabled Swedes, it is clear that Sweden’s main focuses are these two populations. It is understood after studying about occupational therapy in Sweden that, researchers will continue to drive the focus on creating a theory or model that Sweden can call their own in hopes of keeping their occupational therapists advance in this profession. Until that day comes, Sweden will continue to use other countries framework and models to deliver the knowledge needed to make their therapist better.

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