Ageing population and changing healthcare demand in the Netherlands

We are experiencing an ageing population and changing healthcare demand in the Netherlands. The Dutch population is growing older. Not only absolute but also relative because the Dutch population is not only getting older but also experiences a decrease in young adults and births. The group of people that are in need of care is therefore growing and the caregiving group is getting smaller. In the long run, this can cause problems in the healthcare sector. Not only the number of healthcare professionals will decrease but also finding informal caregivers will be more difficult. Therefore there is a search for alternative ways of providing care that sustain the amount of care as well as the quality level of care.

The living situation of people in need of care

ageing population and changing healthcare demand in the NetherlandsFurthermore, there is an increasing request from elderly to stay at their homes as long as possible. On the other hand, there are also many seniors that feel lonely in this situation. There seems to be a shift from residence in big care institutions to smaller residential groups combined with home care. The shift towards home care is also coming from a pressured government. Since The Netherlands is already experiencing a shortage of qualified care personnel, it is more convenient for the sector if more people are able to independently stay at their homes for as long as possible. Only those, for whom it is not safe to live alone, should be eligible for a nursing home. Also, there is an increasing demand for informal caregivers. Therefore the pressure these caregivers experience is persistently increasing, and this as well is a so far unsolved problem.

A complementing problem for the ageing population is that they need to start thinking ahead of how they would want to spend their senior years. It is important to make decisions concerning living at home or in a nursing home or maybe relying on informal care, and if some modifications in the house are necessary when it is decided to stay at home. Many seniors start planning too late and this as well impacts the increasing complication of the care demand.

Personalized care

Complementing all this, there is also an increasing interest in more personalized care. This is coming forward from the ageing population who is more often experiencing more chronic diseases simultaneously. Because people are growing older, they are more likely to get more and longer term chronic diseases and often combinations of these. Therefore the focus should not be on the individual disease but on the individual person and his or her conditions and care should be adjusted to this.

Technology in healthcare

Another big change in healthcare is the use of technology. The care sector is as one of the few falling behind in the use of technology. It will have to innovate to keep up with other sectors and especially to optimize the own sector. There is more and more progression concerning this innovation.

An example is Home automation; Foston is of course highly involved in this. Home automation means automation of processes in and around the residence, the number of possibilities with Home automation is rising. Specifically for the care sector, Home automation optimizes the quality of life for patients without having to adapt too many restrictions. Home automation also offers support to caregivers as an extra set of eyes and ears in the home of the person in need of care. Home automation is applied in home care and care institutions. The main advantage is that both the patient and the caregiver profit from home automation. The patient has a feeling of independence and experiences minimal restrictions. The caregiver can deliver focused care that is less time-consuming.

Technology also plays a role in communication and supply of information within the care sector. This can be used by the ones in need of care and by care professionals to share ideas and questions. Also sharing and utilizing data is becoming easier because of the possibilities that are offered nowadays concerning technologies and this can all be done within a secured environment where privacy is guaranteed.

Prevention instead of curing

The combination of an ageing population with multiple conditions and the more developed applications in technology within the care sector, might lead to more prevention instead of curing. This would mean less need for caretaking and a reduction in the staffing problem; not having enough care providers to take care of the growing group of those in demand of care.

What the care providers think

From the aspect of care providers, there are a lot of noticeable changes in the care sector. Also for care providers, it is remarkable that more people in need of care want to stay at their homes and more and more insist on self-reliance. The patient also expresses this towards the caregiver and thus the caregiver also has the task to stimulate self-management of the patient. Furthermore, patients have more multi-disciplinary healthcare questions. Caregivers need more knowledge and this leads to an increasing request for extra education. Also, there is a higher request for support from informal care. Especially for tasks that are suit for this means of care. A highly noticeable and still unacknowledged problem amongst caregivers is the increasing workload of administrative work and the high demand for a change in this method of working.

Future outlook

Thus we can conclude that due to an ageing population and changing healthcare demand in the Netherlands, the care sector is going through many continuous changes. Still, we can prepare sufficiently, if there is enough acceptance towards change. All of this does not only account for the Netherlands but is also noticeable in multiple Western European countries

What does this mean for Foston

Foston, in co-operation with our Dutch distributor QuoVadis, offers solutions for healthcare institutions and home care by means of system integration. Foston has developed the software Calas, which offers system integration for care institutions and home care providers. Calas is adjustable to individual needs of patients. Therefore it is highly suitable to respond to the changing healthcare demand. Calas can contribute to personalizing care and has, because of Home automation, an important role in optimizing care. Becoming more efficient, patient-oriented and less time-consuming. Calas is a vendor-independent integration platform and therefore brings together multiple systems in one, easy to interpret, overview. In the time to come, QuoVadis will mainly be concerned with installation/implementation in smaller care institutions and home care. Also for larger institutions, mental health care and hospitals.

Click here to read more about Calas!

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