Care homes in Austria

1. Which laws apply to opening care homes?

The 9 federal states are responsible for legislation on care homes. Therefore, there are 9 different legal bases, which all differ. For this reason, Vienna is used as an example where the "Vienna Residential and Nursing Home Act" applies.

2. Is the care home operator required to have a presence in the local jurisdiction?

The care home operator can be a local or an EU-based natural or legal person. Direct performance of social services by an EU-based entity in Austria could have certain tax implications.

No.

4. How are the governing bodies of the care home regulated? 

Care homes must have a director, medical officer, nursing officer, and a hygiene specialist.

The director must be professionally qualified to carry out the tasks of management. They must have sufficient knowledge of business administration and staff management.

5. Is a concession or approval by any regulatory authority required to open a care home?

No, but opening a care home must be announced to the government 3 months in advance. The government can prohibit the opening of a care home within this term.

6. Is a care home restricted in the performance of activities on the local market?

Care homes are incorporated solely for the performance of specific social services as prescribed by the relevant legislation.

Care homes can acquire, encumber, or dispose of their real estate or other property with the consent of their founders.

7. Are there any restrictions on how care homes may use their profits?

No.

8. Does the government provide any type of subsidy?

There are currently no standalone subsidies for care home accommodation from the government. The residents must pay fees through their pensions and the care payment; the amount depends on their health condition.

9. Is there a supervisory authority in relation to the activities of the care home?

The responsible magistrate and the care home commission monitors the activities of care homes and can perform on-site inspections as part of the monitoring process.

A care home is obligated to submit annual statistical reports to the competent ministry with information on its business activities, number of customers, number of employees, etc.

10. What is the number of inhabitants?

8,859,992 (source: World Bank)

11. What is the number of inhabitants older than 65 (in %)?

19.202% (source: World Bank)

12. What is the number of care homes?

850

13. Is there a waiting list?

There is no reliable statistic because Austria has both private and government care homes. The waiting time therefore varies greatly.

14. What institutions regulate and monitor the health and social care services?

Primarily, there are two institutions that monitor health and social care services:

1. Care home supervisory authority (“Heimaufsicht”) for nursing homes

Each Federal State operates its own Care Home Supervisory Authority. They are responsible for the supervision of institutions that primarily provide long-term care, while medical service by doctors is limited to a case-by-case basis.

The supervisory activities include:

  • monitoring compliance with statutory requirements for nursing homes and similar institutions;
  • on-site examinations, both announced and unannounced;
  • ongoing quality control; and
  • investigations in response to specific indications or complaints.

Additionally, the Care Home Supervisory Authorities support the carriers of nursing homes through consultation and by providing training opportunities.

2. Sanitary Supervisory Authority (“Sanitäre Aufsicht”) for hospitals and other healthcare institutions

Each district authority (“Bezirksverwaltungsbehörde”) operates its own Sanitary Supervisory Authority. They monitor various healthcare institutions including hospitals. Not included within the scope are sanatoria and nursing homes, provided their primary purpose is nursing care and medical care by doctors is added only on a case-by-case basis. 

The supervisory activities include:

  • monitoring compliance with sanitary and other statutory requirements for health institutions as set out in the applicable State Laws (including building regulations and fire prevention)
  • ongoing supervision and quality control
  • on-site examinations by public health officers

Additionally, there are several interest groups monitoring the quality of services provided by health and social care providers. These include the Austrian Ombudsman Board (“Volksanwaltschaft”), the Patient Advocate Board (“Patientenanwaltschaft”) and the Care Home Resident Representation (“Bewohnervertretung”). Further, the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection has developed a "National Quality Certificate for Nursing and Care Homes in Austria" (NQZ) together with (i) the Federal Association of Nursing and Care Homes in Austria, (ii) the Federal States, (iii) the Senior Citizens' Council and (iv) certain experts. This certificate can be awarded to those nursing homes that systematically strive to achieve the highest possible individual quality of life for their residents.