The European Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (EAHSA), a chapter of the Global Ageing Network representing 3,000 providers in 20 different countries in ageing services, has identified a growing need among its members to exchange best practices. It also sensed that access to applied (academic) research in ageing services is limited for members while the results of this research are very relevant for daily practice.
Therefore, the EAHSA Board decided to set up a European Centre for Research and Education in Ageing Services (ECREAS). Its partner, the European Association for Directors and Providers in Long Term care (EDE), was invited to collaborate and the EDE Board decided to join this effort. As a consequence of this collaboration, 5,000 providers and directors in 20 countries are reached by ECREAS.
ECREAS is not a physical building: it is a digital platform where information can be exchanged. The first functions of ECREAS is being a clearinghouse for best practices and relevant (applied) research reports and articles and European datalinks. EAHSA and EDE members can put a summary of best practices on the ECREAS-platform with contact data. The download will be reviewed before it is placed on the website. The review will look at the innovative character of the best practice and the impact on daily practice.
The second function is to set up education programmes for EAHSA and EDE members based on best practices. Drawing from best practices and material uploaded by members, an education programme can be created for interested members and non-members in collaboration with members that have already developed best practices around a particular topic.
The third function is consultancy for EAHSA and EDE members. Members can ask for support on a specific item/innovation/(research) project by experts who can be recruited from the EAHSA and EDE membership. To realise this a database that lists experts with specific skills and expertise will be set up. To register all applications must be accompanied by proof documents (copy of diploma’s etc.). When a member comes to ECREAS with a certain question, ECREAS forms a team and introduces this to the member with a proposal in terms of activities and costs.
The activities of ECREAS will focus on 4 themes:
- Quality in ageing services
The definition, interpretation, and application of the concept of quality is an ongoing concern for housing and services providers of elderly care. What are perspectives on quality, how is quality controlled and what are by academic research validated quality measurement instruments that can be applied to ageing services?
- Elderly care workforce
Recruitment, training & education and retention of elderly care workforce is a striking problem for the European Union in general and for the ageing care sector in particular. How can the sector promote its attractiveness and what are effective HR-strategies for providers to recruit and retain staff?
Technology is an upcoming application in housing and services for ageing people: home automation and eHealth are common examples. There are plenty solutions and products on the market, but is still questionable whether these innovations are suited and convenient for older people.
- Living Environments
Well-being and ageing-well heavily depend on the physical environment of the older people. The environment should be adapted to the needs and possibilities of older people. Their specific characteristics (health status, socio-economic status, physical abilities) require supportive environments. But also changing personal preferences and societal tendencies require an adaption of current elderly care housing and living environments.
At the end of the first quarter of 2018, a provisional website will be set up. The goal for the second half of 2018 is to have the clearinghouse fully operational. Consultancy and education programmes will be operational in 2019.
The Board of Directors of ECREAS is composed of both EAHSA and EDE members:
- Elena Weber, Italy
- Didier Sapy, France
- Marko Slavic, Slovenia
- Jean Christophe Vanderhaegen, Belgium
- Freek Lapré (Chairman), Netherlands