New institute combines expertise to improve primary health care

Summary

Several of Flanders’ institutions of higher education are joining together with care centres to create a central team dedicated to the improvement of primary and home health care

‘Front line’ of care

Four universities, six colleges and a number of other institutions working in the care sector are combining their strength in the new Vlaamse Instituut voor de Eerst Lijn (Vivel), or Flemish Institute for Primary Health Care. The new organisation will co-operate to improve primary health care, which is referred to in Dutch as de eerste lijn – literally “the front line”.

Vivel will work to support everyone involved in primary health care, from family physicians to pharmacists to psychologists. It will also focus on the interface between primary care and home health care provided by family members home health nurses and volunteers.

Anyone living at home who either visits a general practitioner or requires in-home care, whether for physical or psychological reasons, are included in primary patient care.

“It’s not a classic academic department but a network of organisations, a knowledge centre for the front line of health care,” said the new organisation in a statement. “The Flemish Patient Platform and the White-and-Yellow Cross Foundation are also part of the organisation, for instance.”

The institute will focus in particular, it says, “on people with fairly complex care issues with the aim of preventing further deterioration in their condition”.

Vivel is part of an ongoing reform of the primary care system that is meant to improve co-operation among primary health-care workers and organisations in Flanders.

"Vivel is unique in bringing together these competences," said Vivel chair Gerrit Rauws, who is also the director of the King Boudewijn Foundation. "They have shown that there is a strong desire to intensify their co-operation. The idea is to provide people with health-care questions and those who care for loved ones at home with the best help available."

Vivel is being funded with a €2.5 million grant from the Daniel De Coninck Foundation, which was founded by the White-and-Yello Cross and is managed by the King Boudewijn Foundation.