The kick-off of Project INTEGRATE in September 2012 heralded the start of a collaboration between 10 institutions from eight different European countries to investigate integrated care programs for chronic and age-related conditions in Europe. By now, approximately three years later, the first two phases of the project have been completed. At the moment, the phase 3 work package leaders are preparing the activities for the next (and last) year of the project. In the meantime, two previous work package leaders have started a new collaboration within the broader collaboration of Project INTEGRATE.
Research visit at Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
From August to October 2015, a research visit is taking place during which Loraine Busetto from Tilburg University is working at Jörn Kiselev’s workplace at Charité Berlin. More specifically, their workplace is located on the campus of the Protestant Geriatric Center Berlin (EGZB), where a case study on integrated care in geriatrics was conducted during phase 1 of Project INTEGRATE. The aim of the current research visit is to analyse the data from the German case study and compare it to the findings from the Dutch case study that was conducted on integrated care for type 2 diabetes in the Netherlands. The research visit is financially supported by a short term grant for international researchers by the German Academic Exchange Service.
Integrated care for geriatric conditions in Germany
Between 2013 and 2014, researchers from Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin conducted a case study on the implementation and performance of integrated care for older people with geriatric conditions at a German geriatric hospital. The aim of the research was to gain insights into the implementation process and execution of integrated care at the EGZB, which was expressively planned and organised as a multidisciplinary and integrated geriatric care program incorporating a comprehensive spectrum of services for age-related conditions. The hospital consists of five wards, each organised in independent multidisciplinary teams consisting of doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, neuropsychologists, speech therapists and social workers. Interviews were conducted with representatives of the various professional groups.
Integrated care for type 2 diabetes in the Netherlands
In the same period, researchers from Tilburg University conducted a case study on the implementation of integrated care for type 2 diabetes by two Dutch care groups. The purpose of the research was to gain insights into the intervention types, barriers and facilitators and outcomes of integrated care for diabetes mellitus type 2. The methodology of this study as well as a preparatory literature review has been published as a study protocol in the International Journal of Integrated Care. The findings from the case study have recently been published in BMC Family Practice.
Comparison of the two cases
Loraine Busetto, Katrien Luijkx and Bert Vrijhoef from Tilburg University are currently developing a framework for the analysis of integrated care programs for people with chronic conditions. This framework will be used for and further developed based on the comparison of the Dutch and German cases of integrated care implementation presented above. The innovative feature of the framework is that it allows for the comparison of integrated care interventions in different settings (i.e. Dutch primary/ambulatory care vs. German secondary/residential care) and for different chronic conditions (i.e. type 2 diabetes vs. geriatric conditions). We expect that a comparison such as this will yield interesting results for integrated care initiatives in other European countries as well as for the Dutch and German cases themselves.
To be continued…
Tranzo Scientific Center for Care and Welfare
Tilburg University, the Netherlands