30.06.2017 At first hand

Editorial. When a child, a life partner or a parent falls ill, relatives are often the first to provide support. These caregiving and nursing tasks can be demanding and time-consuming, but they are still taken for granted – even though they reduce the services required from the healthcare system.

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A few years ago, Parliament recognized that family members should be given more support for this essential task, and the Federal Council agreed in principle.

The Federal Council specifically addressed the subject of caregiving by family members in its "Health2020" health policy agenda, and at the end of 2014 the Council adopted an action plan to support caregiving relatives. The "Relief Services for Caregiving Relatives 2017–2020" was approved by the Federal Council in March 2016, and supports implementation of the action plan.

With these initiatives, the federal government plans to enable caregiving relatives to stay in the workforce, and for providers of support services to better orient themselves to the needs of the relatives and patients. In the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), we are ensuring that the knowledge base and the models of good practice that were developed in the support programmes for "Mental Health", "Palliative Care", "Dementia", "Rare Diseases" and "Coordinated Healthcare" are incorporated. The migrant population should also be taken into account.

The following bodies are involved in implementing the initiatives of the federal government: the Federal Social Insurance Office, the Federal Statistical Office, the Federal Office for Gender Equality, the Federal Office of Justice and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. Together we will provide the Federal Council with forward-looking solutions and lay a foundation for offering caregivers constructive relief and support. This should help the commitment of family members to receive the recognition it deserves.

Salome von Greyerz Head, Health Strategies Division

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