The day started with two welcoming speeches. The first speech was by Ernst van Koesveld, director at the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. He talked about current transitions in the long-term care system in the Netherlands and in other countries, and as such acknowledged the relevance of the SUSTAIN Project. The second welcoming speech was by Betty Meijboom, chair of the Dutch National Care for the Elderly Program. A program that was initiated to fund research aiming to improve quality of care for older people. The meeting gave the consortium the chance to productively discuss the operational intricacies of SUSTAIN and begin to focus on the research itself. In particular, Work Package leaders defined the responsibilities, methods and actions for each of their tasks.
The SUSTAIN project aims to improve integrated care for older people living at home with multiple health and social care needs. With ageing population and economic pressures across Europe, many countries are looking for integrated care as a means of providing person-centred, safe, efficient, and prevention orientated care. However, evidence of the effectiveness of integrated car is inconclusive. Moreover, there still is little knowledge of how to successfully implement integrated care and how to transfer successful initiatives to other regions and health systems.
Funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-2015, SUSTAIN will work from 2015 to 2019 with fourteen initiatives (sites) in seven countries aiming to achieve integrated care. The sites will be located in The Netherlands, UK, Norway, Austria, Spain, Estonia, and Germany. The project will support the initiatives to improve the standard of integrated care in relation to 4 key domains: patient-centeredness, prevention orientation, safety and efficiency. The project will also work on ensuring that improvements to the initiatives are transferable to other health systems and develop a guide that can be used across Europe and beyond.
The kick off meeting presented the consortium with the ideal opportunity to select the best possible way to successfully coordinate and dissemination the SUSTAIN project. Consortium partners left with enthusiasm, drive and a number of actions which will be discussed at the next meeting in November 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.