2018 Conference Presentation
Background: In 2016, a nationwide evaluation was carried out on the implementation of the new Long-term Care Act (Wlz) in The Netherlands (Rijksoverheid, 2014)*. The Wlz provides for high-level care for vulnerable (older) people or people with severe mental or physical disabilities, and was introduced to reduce costs, support independent living and self-reliance, and the involvement of informal carers and volunteers.
Methods: Through 20 focus groups with care professionals and volunteers (119 participants) and 41 case studies with 84 participants including clients, informal carers and care professionals (from 33 unique care locations) information was gathered. A questionnaire has also been completed by 228 managers from care organizations across the country to gain insight into their experiences with the new Act.
Results: The evaluation of the Wlz provided a rich insight into the ways in which formal carers and organizations organize care plan discussions and how clients, their social network and healthcare professionals experience this. Furthermore, we gained insight into barriers and drivers for involving volunteers and the social network more closely in care and support for clients, and how the care professionals, volunteers, and the social network are aligned. Furthermore, the research identified some successful developments in self-reliance, quality of life, self-management and how the different stakeholders experience independent living at home.
The results from the evaluation show that it takes time before the objectives of the new Long-term Care Act impact clients, the social network, care professionals, volunteers and managers. Nevertheless, results do show some positive changes in how long-term care is organized with increasing involvement of informal carers and volunteers.