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University of Basel

Caring for Family Members

In Switzerland, nearly 60% of care-dependent persons are cared for by family members. These obligations are handled mainly by gainfully employed persons. Unlike parenthood, nursing care cannot usually be planned. Rather, it occurs unexpectedly and estimating its course is often also more difficult.

Individualized and flexible solutions are needed as well as dealing openly with the issue. Some cases are also governed by labor law:

  • Employees with family duties require particular consideration when determining work and leave time. Family duties are defined as raising children to age 15 as well as caring for relatives or other close persons requiring nursing care.
  • These employees can only be asked to work overtime hours with their consent. On request, they are to be given a lunch break of at least one and a half hours.
  • The employer has to give employees with family duties the necessary time off up to three days to care for sick children when presented with a medical certificate. The University of Basel has expanded this to illness in the person's own household, provided no other care option is available and a medical certificate is presented.

Daytime and night care facilities

The daytime facilities give elderly persons an opportunity to socialize and participate in activities with others in a clearly structured day once or twice a week. This also provides relief to the relative providing care. Various concepts are in place that are connected with different types of costs.

The night care facilities provide relief to relatives of persons dependent on nursing care by giving them a full night's sleep. Availability is more limited for this offer than the daytime facilities.

For more information on daytime and night care facilities in the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft, visit the websites www.langzeitpflege-bs.ch and www.bap-bl.ch.

Care costs

Financial contributions for home care

The social security system in Switzerland provides for partial insurance coverage of illness-related costs. Persons who care for a family member and therefore have to reduce or sacrifice work hours for an extended period of time can receive at least partial compensation for the lost income.

Financial compensation for illness and disability-related costs is also provided. This form of assistance can be applied for if the person requiring care receives supplementary benefits.

The responsible compensation fund will review the application of the eligible person and in the case of a positive decision, pay a maximum compensation equivalent to the lost income of the relative who provides care. The amount is paid to the eligible beneficiary, that is, the person who is receiving care. This person can use the money – which is equivalent to salary compensation – to enter a de facto employment agreement with a relative. This system also serves to safeguard social insurance contributions. For more information, visit www.careum.ch.


Persons who regularly care for an elderly, sick or disabled person at home receive financial aid in the canton of Basel-Stadt. This contribution for care is available to family members or neighbors who assist in providing basic care for at least one hour per day (dressing and undressing, grooming, etc.). No compensation is given for household chores. Applications for care contributions must be filed with the Long-term Care Department.


The health insurance contribution for care costs is limited to a fixed daily rate for each respective level of care. The same applies for costs shared by the nursing home resident.

The canton of Basel-Landschaft has limited the deductible uniformly in the entire canton to a maximum of 20% of the highest contribution from health insurance (CHF 21.60 per day). The residents themselves are responsible for support and hospitality costs. Those unable to afford nursing home care can apply for supplementary benefits.

For ambulatory in-home nursing care (Spitex), the deductible is 10% of the highest contribution paid by health insurance (currently CHF 7.95 per day). Beginning January 1, 2013, the customer is responsible for CHF 8 per day or CHF 2920 per year for ambulatory care costs.

Cantonal services

Canton of Basel-Stadt

Long-term Care Department

The Long-Term Care Department serves as an information point and expert authority in matters concerning assistance and care for elderly persons. It coordinates and oversees the private providers of nursing and assistance services for elderly persons in the canton of Basel-Stadt and is responsible for providing places for persons requiring care.

The brochure outlining services for elderly persons in Basel-Stadt provides a good overview of all services and offers.

Spitex Basel

Spitex Basel is the leading in-home care organization publicly commissioned on behalf of the canton of Basel-Stadt. It provides comprehensive assistance in the area of ambulatory in-home care and housekeeping for people of any age who are sick, disabled or who require care. These services are also available to families requiring relief after the birth of a child. Support and assistance is also available to relatives who provide care.

Seniorenforum Basel-Stadt (Senior forum Basel-Stadt)

Seniorenforum Basel-Stadt is a partnership between senior citizens organizations and the public authorities of the canton of Basel-Stadt. Community working groups determine needs and solutions in areas affecting senior citizens. These include safety and security, elderly-appropriate living, volunteering and health promotion. The website provides extensive information and tips.

Nachbarnet Basel (Neighborhood network Basel)

Referral network for city residents offering and seeking help and cooperation in the neighborhood.

Neighborhood meeting points

Neighborhood meeting points are places where young families as well as older people, long-time residents and newcomers can meet and gain a sense of collective identity. The activities they offer are designed specifically to the neighborhood and take into consideration the needs of the people who live in the area and who want to play an active role in their community.

Canton of Basel-Landschaft

Age and health

The websites of the administrative bodies for economics and health provide information on the fundamental tenets and principles of the policies for the elderly as well as the coordination office and key players who shape elderly-related policies in the Basel region.

Spitex-Verband Baselland (Spitex association Baselland)

The Spitex-Verband Baselland is a cantonal umbrella organization for the various non-profit home care organizations that provide ambulatory care and assistance to people in their own homes. They are commissioned by the municipalities with the task of providing care. This requires that the organizations accept all tasks falling under their purview and catchment area, regardless of the location or duration of the task.

CURAVIVA Baselland

Addresses and information on elderly, nursing and care facilities in the canton of Basel-Landschaft

Additional services

Pro Senectute beider Basel (Pro Senectute for Basel)

Information and advice center of Pro Senectute beider Basel. The organization also provides services to help people of state retirement age live as independently as possible in their own homes.

Swiss Red Cross

Support in the form of counseling and services for elderly persons, families and the disabled.

Nationales Forum Alter und Migration (National forum age and migration)

The Nationales Forum Alter und Migration works to improve the health and social situation of older migrants in Switzerland. It pursues the goal of strengthening the rights of older migrants in Switzerland and promoting respect for this generation's achievements.

Hausbetreuungsdienst für Stadt und Land (In-home care service for the city and countryside)

This service is a Switzerland-wide, private organization working in the areas of housekeeping/home maintenance, geriatric care and basic care and nursing at home. The nursing care services offered comprise all nursing and medical services required to provide care for patients in their own homes. Nursing services covered by insurance are recognized by all insurance companies. Services are billed according to fixed rates, regardless of income and assets.


curavis provides basic and treatment care to meet all needs – for age-related complaints, acute and chronic illnesses, dementia, physical disabilities, post-hospitalization care, palliative care and life-end support. Care and assistance for all age groups, from infants to the very elderly. Accompanying people on outings, when going to the doctor or to the theater, assistance planning the day or with household chores, counseling and relief to relatives.


seniorenzuhause.ch is a Swiss care provider for senior citizens. It makes daily life in the person's own home easier for senior citizens and their relatives.

HausPflegeService (Home care service)

The modular services offered by HausPflegeService make it possible for older people to live at home for as long as possible.

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