In For Care

Caring and Sharing: Partner exchange Drenthe – Aalst

20 March 2018 - Published by Ragni Leifson
On 22nd of February In For Care (IFC) partners from the province of Drenthe were joined by CMO-STAMM and a number of local stakeholders for an exchange visit to our IFC partners in Stad Aalst, Belgium.

The programme for the day was designed to mutually inspire through presentations, comparisons, best practices and discussion.

 As a run up to the international partner meeting in Scotland in March, the leaders from work packages 5 and 6 thought it valuable to invest extra time in a bilateral exchange, considering several aspects of caregiving that the partners have in common.

 “The landscape for caregiving differs strongly from country to country but with this meeting we endeavoured to create an insight into the differences and similarities between Belgium and the Netherlands,” says Vincent De Tandt, one of the organizers.


Anneke Bosch, from the Province of Drenthe, kicked off with a presentation of the goals and process for finding, training and retaining volunteers and (working) caregivers. The question of how to achieve policy change, using IFC as a vehicle, was also introduced. Drenthe’s approach is to focus on raising employers’ awareness on the one hand and strengthening the position of working caregivers on the other – all within the framework of sustainable employability.

Presentation of good practices

Speaking for Stad Aalst, Elise Van Opstal explained the various roles and planned actions from the Flemish perspective. Elise showcased the different efforts being undertaken in Aalst to support informal caregivers and stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in this field.

The morning closed with two successive presentations of good practices:

  • The role and added value of a consultant for caregivers within multi-disciplinary teams (Arthur Overgoor, Municipality of Hoogeveen).
  • Co-creation as a means for finding solutions to support caregivers (Nathalie Goethals, iDrops project and Stad Aalst).

Following the break, Dr. Dan Howdon from the University of Groningen/Leeds University shared his expertise – not only inspiring but entertaining his audience – on how to tackle the issue of cost-effectiveness in healthcare.

“It’s clear that there is an incredible amount of uncertainty when trying to define the parameters for cost-effectiveness in care”, said Dr. Howdon.

Vincent De Tandt expanded further on the subject of economics, followed by a lively discussion amongst the participants.

Policies for working caregivers

Final topic on the agenda dealt with current policies for working caregivers in SMEs and we heard a number of effective ways for intervention from some of our stakeholders. Dimitri Vermeylen from Collevio, a Belgian company specialized in finding integrated solutions for SMEs, spoke enthusiastically about their made-to-measure services for both the employer and the employee.

Then, Liesbeth Horstman (VPB Emmen) and Debbie Ruiter (entrepreneur in Drenthe) gave a dual presentation of their experiences and insights with regards to available support and various approaches, providing fuel for a closing debate on innovative entrepreneurship and care.

In conclusion, we all agree that our In For Care Inspiration Day was…exactly that! The partners from Drenthe and Stad Aalst, as well as our invited stakeholders, found this bilateral exchange extremely motivational and it has resulted in a greater mutual understanding of the tasks we are facing together within the project.