The Advent of High-Tech Home Care in Germany


  • Michael Ewers Dipl. Rel. Paed., M.P.H.

Michael Ewers is Assistant Lecturer/Researcher, Institute of Nursing Science (IPW), School of Public Health, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany. Address correspondence to Michael Ewers, Institute of Nursing Science (IPW), School of Public Health, University of Bielefeld, Universitaetsstr. 25, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany. E-mail:


The purpose of this conceptual paper is to examine the current situation in which high-tech home care is going to materialize in Germany in the beginning of the new millennium. It will be shown that there have been long-standing efforts to bring about a corresponding expansion of home care as can be observed in other countries (e.g., United States). It is apparent, however, that these efforts are still crowned by only modest success. This especially applies to high-tech home care. The introduction of this special form of care is turning out to be a complicated process on a collision course with a great number of obstacles due to the peculiarities of Germany's health care system. If the nursing options related to high-tech home care are to be opened up and put into practice in the future, numerous prerequisites for their development will first have to be created. From a public health nursing viewpoint the three most pressing issues on the list of priorities relevant to high-tech home care are to: (1) increase awareness of the problems associated with this special form of care; (2) eliminate the present information deficits in society; and (3) initiate a debate in Germany about possibilities and limitations of technology-intensive home care, building on international exchange of experiences and ideas.