Why the SUSTAIN meeting in Hamburg was so important

As a researcher I am involved in the European project SUSTAIN. SUSTAIN is a European research project on sustainable integrated care for elderly living at home. In the SUSTAIN consortium, researchers, policy advisors and other partners are working together in the field of care systems and care for the elderly in Europe. Nine different countries are involved, including the Netherlands, Estonia and Spain. The consortium analyses fourteen studies in the area of integrated care.

Set out course together

It is a challenge to work together considering the physical distance between each other. We are consulting a lot via Skype and other digital facilities. But occasionally we need it to speak to each other face to face. That is why I was in Hamburg from 14th until 18th May. We have spent time together from early in the morning until late at night. The many conversations were helpful for setting out course with each other.

Learned lessons

Hamburg has been a very important moment for SUSTAIN. This is because we are going to deliver a number of projects this year. We entered the last year (SUSTAIN runs from 2014 to 2018). During this meeting we have brought together central research, analysed and gathered the shared lessons that will be written down in a report.

Good in one go!

Our research in the Netherlands was the experience project ‘In 1 keer goed!’ (‘Good in one go!’) We collected data and conducted interviews with various parties involved. In a crisis situation at home or at first aid, a doctor can use a specialist in geriatrics. This professional does not only have a medical perspective, he also pays attention to other issues such as the involvement of family, friends and the way in which someone participates in society. This broader, holistic view can prevent crisis intervention and unnecessary transfers. The latter is also important, because like you should not replant an old tree unnecessarily, you should not move older, vulnerable people.

The roadmap

Of course it does not stay with lessons learned in a scientific report. For example, as a consortium, we are working this year on a roadmap, a more practical translation of all research findings. We as Vilans also do the visual design of the roadmap. The roadmap focuses on decision-makers to be able to shape properly integrated care in their own environment. If you see integrated care as a soup and the roadmap as a cookery book, there are, for example, standard ingredients that must always be in it, such as water. But there are also a lot of variable ingredients. This roadmap enables decision-makers to compose the soup that works best for their own environment.

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