Three Nordic countries responding to COVID-19 – Eldercare perspectives

Merja Rapeli, Johan Carlstedt, Ragnheiður Hergeirsdóttir, Halldór S. Guðmundsson, Carin Björngren Cuadra, Ilona Hatakka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Comparative international studies show that about half of the deceased in the COVID-19 pandemic were persons living in institutional and residential eldercare. As seniors are the most affected age group, we aim to study if and to what extent the eldercare services were included in the National Pandemic Plans, and how they were included in the response during the first phase of the pandemic in Finland, Iceland, and Sweden. We use the CRISMART approach to crisis documentation and analysis in comparing national response to the pandemic for the eldercare sector. The method enables comparison of extraordinary crisis situations from the decision-making and policy-making perspective. We found that there were both similarities and differences in the preparedness of the three Nordic countries, as well as in how they responded to the pandemic. In all three countries the focus of the national responses framed the problem as a health and healthcare services’ problem. We also found value conflicts in the response between the value of protection versus social contact and self-determination and hence relating to the quality of eldercare. Keeping in mind the proportional increase of elderly people, care challenges, and future crises, we must strengthen the position of local social services within the emergency management systems to enhance disaster resilience and sustainability of our societies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103442
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Early online date15 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research
  • Geology


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