Community care refers to any form of support and care provided in the community enabling people to overcome or manage any condition, disability, or life difficulties they may face while living close to their communities. Integrated Community Care means that social services coordinate across all levels, and sectors, such as health, education, and employment, so they can ensure support is better organised and person-centred by addressing a person’s whole range of needs while ensuring their participation in the community. Integrated community care should be available for all groups in need of social support.
Our 2000 report ‘Towards a People’s Europe’ studied the implementation of personal budgets to promote choice and control of people in need of social support. Since then, ESN has explored the challenges of managing the transition from segregated institutional to integrated community-based services for all populations including children, people with disabilities, homeless people and people in need of long-term care. From 2018 – 2021 the working group on ‘Integrated Care and Support’ shared practices on improved coordination of social services, while our 2023 seminar explored how to further promote community care across Europe. We are a founding member of the European Expert Group (EEG) on the Transition from Institutional to Community Care, a coalition advocating to replace institutionalisation with family- and community-based support.