Co-production between long-term care units and voluntary organisations in Norwegian municipalities: a theoretical discussion and empirical analysis
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionPrimary Health Care Research and Development. 2020, 21 . 10.1017/S1463423620000341
Background: In Norway, due to demographic challenges with an ageing population and lower fertility rates, current government policies have encouraged municipalities and volunteers to collaborate. Moreover, present policies recommend an increase in volunteer activities within care services. Co-production is advocated as a functional and innovative method of activating resources when citizens and public employees interact in the care sector. Method: This study has scrutinised ongoing volunteer activities in nursing homes and home care facilities by utilising the results from a survey targeting employees in public care services. Aim: The aim has been to identify the extent to which long-term care units (LTC units) in Norwegian municipalities and voluntary organisations collaborate in the coordination of volunteer activities at the local level by answering the following research questions: when LTC units and voluntary organisations collaborate in coordinating voluntary activities within caring services: are they sharing tasks, dividing the tasks between them or both? Findings: The results show that LTC units often coordinate volunteer activities that correspond to statutory public care services. Additionally, LTC units also contribute considerably in coordinating other volunteer activities, either alone or to a small extent in collaboration with voluntary organisations. This limited task sharing when coordinating volunteer activities in municipal care services can be seen as a suboptimal way of using the resources. Hence, a large part of this paper concerns a discussion of the theory of co-production in public care services, drawing on the findings of the survey.