SlowCare has energy neutral residential and day-care facilities with meaningful care in a healing environment for people with profound multiple disabilities.
SlowCare aims to create a nationwide network of autonomous small-scale residential and day-care facilities for people with profound multiple disabilities (PMD), based on the concept of meaningful care in a healing environment. It addresses several social, ecological and economic issues. (1) People with disabilities are not visible and included in society. Therefore, the facility is located in the middle of a neighbourhood and develops meaningful contacts with local residents, e.g. by a shared garden and inclusive playgrounds. (2) Administrative tasks and time protocols in the healthcare sector make true attention for clients difficult and there is a high rate of burnout amongst care professionals. SlowCare puts no time or administrative pressure on care professionals, so the children can receive true attention and the healthcare professionals can work from their passion and calling. (3) Care of high quality isn’t affordable for everybody. So SlowCare created a payment structure that works with existing social security benefits and health insurance structures. (4) More awareness is needed on the topic of sustainable building, living, eating for healthy lives. That is why the facility is located in a former school that has been renovated in an energy neutral way and all meals are prepared with biological products. The first location of SlowCare has 24 residents and 32 persons in daycare.
Costs of sustainable (re)building of location is €2.800.000, covered by: loan form the regional government; crowdfunding by citizen; loan from private fund. The municipality invests by leasehold. Care provision is covered by existing social security benefits and health insurance structures.
Evidence of success
First impact-results show that the quality of life for persons with PMD and employees has improved on many levels (e.g. clients need less medication, low absence rates of professionals). For parents, the results differed based on previous care experiences, expectations and the process of letting go. Neighbours communicate better with clients and have let go of their own prejudice. There is interest in Slowcare, varying from national government to (inter)national care organisations and parents.
Siloed policy hinders funding for an integral concept. Location is key: in centre of a neighbourhood, at a proper distance from other neighbours, building provides personal and communal space. Past experiences of parents with care facilities makes letting go and trusting the care facility difficult.
Potential for learning or transfer
Successful healthcare innovations can come from bottom-up initiatives. This practice was invented and implemented by citizens and provides input for policy innovation on how to create integrated healthcare innovations with both positive societal and ecological impact. To achieve that, the ecosystem needs to be rethought and multiple partners (like governments) need to be engaged. By being engaged policymakers will understand what policyimprovement is needed to stimulate societal impact:
SlowCare introduces a new standard in healthcare. Quality of life is the main priority, for clients and healthcare professionals. When professionals are given the time and space to give true attention to their clients, both will benefit. The client experiences meaningful care and the professional can perform his job from his calling and passion.
Scaling up is not focused on growth in a traditional sense, but on establishing a network of small, local, autonomous daycare- and residential facilities.