It is hard to write an editorial on the benefits of integrated care with the rumours and images of war invading our lives; a war nearby, with a devastating impact on the lives of millions of people. The logic of war is exactly the opposite of the logic of care and in sharp contrast with the values of integrated care. The values of integrated care are dignity, person-centeredness, empowerment of people and situations, collaboration, and co-production. Nothing to do with destruction and dehumanisation.
The SHAPES Think-Tank on challenges in integrated care will soon have its first meeting. We will reflect on the issues in integrated care, on the barriers, on the difficulties met in gearing resources and efforts in care provision towards shared goals, established together with, or, whenever possible, by the care receiver. There is little doubt about the benefits of integrated care compared to care provided in silos, but it all depends on the willingness to change the way care is delivered. The Think-Tank will have to work hard to come up with solutions, as the war has challenged our positive worldview and our trust in the make-ability of inclusive societies.
Another event to look forward to is the upcoming dialogue workshop on facilitating the upscaling of integrated care helped by technology uptake. We will look at the factors that impact large scale technology adoption supporting person-centred integrated care. Within WP3 of the SHAPES project, a team has worked on collecting those factors and many colleagues of other work packages have helped to identify the most important ones: successful solutions for integrated care are holistic (addressing needs across different domains), functional from the end user perspective, introduce efficiency in care planning and delivery and are not only “curative” but also “preventive” in nature, detecting the early signs of fragility and advancing healthier lifestyles. Increased understanding of these core success factors will help already in the design phase to build better solutions. The concepts of universal design and accessibility are applicable here as well, especially to foster adaptability to different conditions and usability under different circumstances. These themes will be central as well in Lecco in July at the ICCHP-AAATE conference where we trust to host the Think-Tank, a special thematic session and a panel discussion.
There will be a high demand for care in Europe over the next decades, the type of care that responds to bio-psycho-social needs of people of all ages, whether they are directly or indirectly affected by the war, by environmental challenges or by the ageing process and the fragility and uncertainties coming with it, the type of care that Franco Battiato sings about in his remarkable song “La Cura”. Definitely too much for a single caregiver, the reason why the scenario for the development of integrated care is caring communities. If the SHAPES platform and solutions will help increase the impact of caring communities and professional networks on the quality of life of European citizens, as a consortium, we did a great job!
Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf & the Team of the WeCareMore Centre for Research and Innovation