Read our paper on informal care and volunteering assistance in Europe
Countries with plentiful publically-funded care and services are increasingly shifting the focus towards family or social responsibility and promoting informal care. This transition in the social care systems is not without risk; it may cause increasing (health)care inequality, problems combining work and care or costs in relation to sick leave. Furthermore, it is widely recognised that informal caregivers face a number of challenges including psychological issues such as stress, anxiety and/or depression.
To address these challenges, the EU-funded project ‘In For Care’ was launched in early 2017. The 10 project partners represent regions from around the North Sea that share high welfare status and comparable health systems. The project’s aim is to improve voluntary work processes and informal care in social service delivery. The project’s core method – the quadruple helix approach – is used to enable user-driven innovation in services, implementing new technology (collaboration tools) and demonstrating valuable matchmaking between informal and formal networks.
This paper presents an overview of informal care and volunteering assistance in the participating countries, whilst identifying bottlenecks and challenges as well as specific strategies for coping with the latter. It explores and compares the various interventions in the partner regions aimed at strengthening cooperation between informal carers and professionals, but also looking into how to support young informal carers, create informal care-friendly policies and using service design and co-creation as innovation support measures.