From 5th to 9th of September 2016, the European Network for Independent Living – ENIL organized a study visit about the deinstitutionalization in Stockholm, Sweden. The purpose of the visit was to present the steps taken by Sweden to close institutional care for people with disabilities – a process that ended 16 years ago on 01.01.2000. The key messages of the study visit were captured in a short film, which ENIL has been distributing since Friday (07.10.2016) 

Deinstitutionalization is often called a “complicated” process. The purpose of ENIL with this study visit was to divide this process into separate steps and talk to those involved in the reforms. The Law on Support and Service Provision for People with Functional Disabilities (the so-called LSS Act) plays a key role in this process. It came into force in early 1994 with various measures, including the legal right of personal assistant. This law, along with others, helps close the long-term institutional care for people with disabilities and allows them to live in their own homes or in small group homes with no more than 5 – 6 people. 

The study visit was for four days and included visits to various national and local authorities, as well as to Sodexo – a technical equipment company, STIL – a personal assistance cooperative, Boss – Center for Disability Support and in a private apartment adapted by the Stockholm City Hall. The participants of the visit came from Bulgaria, Spain, Lithuania, Germany and Sweden and included active disabled people, representatives of non-governmental organizations, representatives of Lukovit municipality in Bulgaria and New Bulgarian University. 

The event was organized by ENIL in cooperation with the Center for Independent Living in Sofia and STIL-Sweden and was co-funded by the European Commission. Patrick Duet from Doodt Films recorded the meetings and produced two short films to raise awareness of deinstitutionalization. ENIL is grateful to him as well as to all partners and participants who helped to turn the event into a success. 

Watch “Institutional care is not the solution: learning from the Swedish experience”, and soon there will be Bulgarian subtitles, here.

If you would like to participate in a future study visit to deinstitutionalization, please contact Jamie Bolling (