Transforming health and social care in times of COVID19 crisis

A leading Dutch newspaper published recently an interview with our Making More Health fellow Jos de Blok on the front page, where he mentioned:  “There has been made a mistake on how we anticipated the crisis.” This statement led to a debate in the Dutch parliament  and opened up new discussions about learnings from this pandemic and how to better deal with contagion prevention and home care?

A big challenge for healthcare providers

Teamwork has been the top priority for Jos the Blok in recent months. "We have worked very hard in our local and international teams to find out how we can support our patients and nurses during this time," says Jos de Blok. Before COVID-19 reached the Netherlands, Buurtzorg received first reports from partners from China in December, allowing them to act early. A crisis team was developed, with "safety" as the leading principle. Even though the Dutch government initially did not require to wear masks, Buurtzorg and his team procured a large number of personal protective equipment, and shared it  with other organizations and partners.

In recent weeks, Buurtzorg has worked on several programs to support patients and nurses alike, including the possibility that elderly people infected with COVID-19 can be treated at home by specially trained nurses. Based on innovations such as e-health councils, patients can be virtually connected to specialist doctors without leaving their familiar environment.

Furthermore, Buurtzorg  has offerd optimal mental and physical safety support to  healthcare workers to prevent mental issues due to fears and psychological challenges caused by such a crises.

There should be more strength and a holistic approach to home care 

In addition, Buurtzorg  has supported  neighborhood assistance. The organization has provided tablets to those who suffered most from isolation. The tablets are  very user-friendly and allow people to participate in virtual chats and activities. Jos de Blok's goal is to learn from this crisis and to advance Homecare. “What we really need is a kind of learning culture. To learn from what is happening and how can we translate it into regulations that bring us forward,” says Jos de Blok.

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