WHO Country Vignette Netherlands: Expanding access for older people through out-of-hours primary care

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in improved collaboration and coordination in the care for older people living at home and in residential settings in the Netherlands. This was mainly due to the accelerated integration of social care services with out-of-hours primary care services. These are the main findings contained in the Vilans publication, ‘Expanding Access for Older People Through Out-of-Hours Primary Care’.

The publication is the Netherlands’ contribution to a series of Country Vignettes organised by the World Health Organization (WHO), called ‘Transforming Primary Health Care During the Pandemic’. The series illustrates the continued importance and transformation of primary health care across the European Region by capturing pragmatic solutions and describing policy instruments that European countries have implemented to strengthen the role of primary health care and maintain essential health services.

Ability to adapt kept older people safe 

‘Expanding Access for Older People Through Out-of-Hours Primary Care’ was prepared by a Vilans research team, lead by Prof. Henk Nies, Vilans Director of Strategy and Professor of Organisation and Policy in Long-term Care at Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam). Prof. Nies says the ability of the most important providers of out-of-hours care to quickly adapt, significantly contributed to keeping older people safe by managing placement logistics and equipment so they could be cared for in the community. This also improved their quality of life and put less strain on hospitals.

The publication looks at the main areas of collaboration between out-of-hours primary medical care and out-of-hours home care in the Netherlands and describes the adjustments made to scale up their services to meet the needs of older people during the pandemic.

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