As part of the SmartCare project, AGE Platform Europe visited Serbia and Greece to examine how new technologies can support the integration of health and social care services.
SmartCare is a European project that implements integrated care with the support of ICT tools in 9 different European regions. Integrated care means coordinating health and social services in a way that care is delivered more efficiently. It means putting older people in need of care at the centre of care delivery, and it is achieved through good sharing of information and task distribution between all actors involved – doctors, nurses, carers, families.
Within this project, AGE Platform Europe is coordinating the Users’ Advisory Board (UAB), which includes several European organisations representing the views of all professionals and users involved in the integration of care.
On 17th September AGE organised the visit of the UAB to Kraljevo, in Serbia. We could meet both social care professionals at the Centre for Social Work and doctors and nurses at the Health Centre. The day included visits to the homes of older people, where measurements of their vital signs were taken – often with the help of their carers -and sent through smartphone. This data helps health and social care centres to monitor the situation of the person and take decisions on the care plan established between both services. This improves the quality of the care delivered and allows the older person to live more independently. AGE highlighted the importance of adopting a wide policy approach that places integrated care in larger age-friendly policy strategies to make independent living possible in the urban environment.
On 29th October, a new visit took place in in the Attica region, in Greece. This day-long visit, which was led by the European Federation of Nurses, allowed AGE and other visitors to meet health and social care professionals and visit older people’s homes. The discussions with older users – most of them suffering from diabetes – and also with their informal carers – members of the family – proved to be very useful to understand to what extent the systematic measurement of vital signs, transmitted to the shared social and healthcare platform through tablet, is improving their quality of life. The visit included a discussion with other older people currently involved in SmartCare at the municipality of Palaio Faliro.
SmartCare will run until end of August 2016. AGE, as leader of the Advisory Board, will coordinate the work to produce policy recommendations regarding the involvement of users in the deployment of ICT-supported integrated care.
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