Flemish expertise centre on informal care on the way

Summary

The government has earmarked €300,000 to help develop a centre for the support of non-professional caregiving

Caring for the carers

The government of Flanders has allocated €300,000 to the founding of a Flemish expertise centre on informal care – meaning people who care for loved ones or other dependents. The Expertisepunt Mantelzorg should be operational by the middle of 2018.

The new organisation will assemble information on and for non-professional caregivers and support research on the subject. The centre is part of Flemish welfare minister Jo Vandeurzen’s plan on informal care, approved by the government about a year ago.

The plan should ensure improved support for those who voluntarily take care of family members and others, including for the elderly and disables. Some one-quarter of people in Flanders provide such care, a disproportionate number of them women.

“There is an unmistakable need for centralisation of knowledge and expertise to help informal caregivers, professionals and policymakers,” said Vandeurzen in a statement.

The centre will have a user-friendly website that will assemble information and encourage research as well as devote attention to the public perception of informal caregivers, some of which are young people caring for chronically ill or disabled parents.

The new centre is being developed by two main partners: the Vlaams Mantelzorgplatform, an umbrella organisation of informal care associations, and the non-profit Steunpunt Expertisenetwerken, which develops expertise on support for people with a disability.

Photo courtesy Ingimage

Health-care system

The health-care system is federally organised in Belgium. Competing health insurance providers and a proportional contribution-based system ensure that healthcare is accessible to virtually all citizens and costs remain relatively low.
Law - From the age of 25, Belgian citizens and residents – both employees and those self-employed – are legally obliged to have health insurance.
Insurance providers - The mutualiteiten or mutual insurance associations are typically Christian, liberal, socialist or independent.
Services - Refunds are given for services such as doctor’s consultations, prescribed medication and hospital care costs.
1 945

national health-care system is born

13

percent of salary employees contribute to social security

50

to 75% of healthcare costs reimbursed by mutuality