The EMPOWERCARE project has been awarded more than 4 million euros of European Regional Development Funding via the Interreg VA 2Seas programme.
The project, involving 13 partners from the UK, Netherlands, France and Belgium, aims to fully involve older people in decisions concerning their own health and wellbeing, and provide the right support to enable them to remain in their homes, assisted by their local community. EMPOWERCARE will address the issues facing communities in caring for the growing ageing population, by bringing together existing, proven solutions, including innovative technologies, from across all project partners.
In 2013 the over 65s made up 18.2% of the European population and this figure is set to rise to a staggering 28.7% by 2080. Traditional services are already at capacity and the present system pushes people to the default point of safety: the hospital. With the cost of care for older people increasing it is necessary to integrate these groups more closely with their communities.
EMPOWERCARE will take a holistic approach, with 3 areas of activity: Empowerment, Technology Strategies and Workforce Development resources. These will contribute to a more personal approach to care and technology learning whilst reducing isolation/loneliness and increasing solidarity amongst older people.
Community Asset Based Development approaches will get to the heart of what matters most to local communities by harnessing skills and expertise of local people, co-creating innovations that make a real difference to lives, health and wellbeing.
The project will oppose a medical deficit model and instead focus on empowering people to take more responsibility for their care using technology and local services to keep them in work, healthy and motivated, having control over decisions that affect their health and wellbeing. Learning networks will enhance shared knowledge amongst professionals and families to ensure durability and transferability.
Kent County Council Director of Partnerships, Anne Tidmarsh said: “The EMPOWERCARE project provides a fantastic opportunity to address some of the challenges we face with an ageing population through technology, innovation and work to reduce social isolation. We are committed to putting people at the heart of service redesign and will use our ESTHER programme to help structure this project to ensure we engage our community in developing and achieving the right outcomes. Kent County Council and its Design and Learning Centre for Clinical and Social Innovation are very pleased to be part of this project.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
Interreg 2 Seas: http://www.interreg2seas.eu/
Interreg 2 Seas 2014-2020 is a European Territorial Cooperation Programme covering England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders). The Programme is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and has a total of €241m (£203m) ERDF to co-finance projects in the 2014 – 2020 period.
About The Health and Europe Centre:
The Health and Europe Centre works in partnership with local NHS and government stakeholders to bring innovation and investment to the health sector. We are unique in our focus of facilitating international learning and accessing EU-funded projects for the benefit of our local stakeholders. www.healthandeuropecentre.nhs.uk
The ESTHER philosophy was created in the region Jönköping in Sweden in 1997. The Esther model was one of the best-known examples of putting patients at the heart of redesigning services and has been adapted in Kent.