Effects and value of the Slow Care concept: Meaningful care and improvements in quality of life for persons receiving care, their parents and healthcare professionals, and local in-clusion of a care facility

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The SlowCare concept is a new, small-scale care concept for persons with profound and multiple disabilities (PMD). SlowCare’s vision consists of three pillars: meaningful care for persons with PMD and their parents, meaningful work for healthcare professionals, and local inclusion of persons with PMD and the care facility. The care environment that SlowCare aims to create is a healing place, in which the natural, built, symbolic and social environment are cultivated symbiotically (Gesler, 2003). The aim of this research is to investigate how SlowCare’s vision turns out in practice at the first facility and to provide practical details for considering which conditions and actions are conducive to the creating of a healing place. Therefore, the following research question was formulated: What are the effects, value and meanings of the SlowCare concept for the persons receiving care, their parents, healthcare professionals and the surrounding neighbourhood? In order to answer this question, semi-structured interviews have been conducted with eight parents of persons with PMD receiving care at SlowCare, eight healthcare professionals working at SlowCare and twelve local residents who live in the neighbourhood surrounding SlowCare’s first facility. The results for persons with PMD have been collected from their parents, using a proxy approach. The results show that the SlowCare concept enables meaningful care for persons with PMD and their parents, because both are seen and heard, experience a safe and trusted environment and a healing environment. Seven persons with PMD and four parents experienced improvements in their overall quality of life. The SlowCare concept also provides meaningful work for healthcare professionals. The high level of staffing and pressure-free way of working enable them to provide meaningful care and consequently experience more satisfaction, motivation and joy at work. Seven healthcare professionals reported a higher overall quality of life. Local inclusion has taken place, because the facility and its residents are visible due to the open character of the building and the activities that SlowCare undertakes in the neighbourhood. Local residents feel involved with the facility and feel that the contacts they have with the persons receiving care are meaningful to them and to the neighbourhood. SlowCare’s first facility is an example of an everyday healing place. Important factors that make the facility a healing place are the green environment, the homely decor, loving care, respect for each other, the small scale of the facility, the open character of the building and its location. The results may contain bias due to the proxy approach, the fact that some respondents were unhappy with the former care or work environment, and because focus groups with local residents are unlikely to attract local residents with a negative attitude towards a care facility in their neighbourhood. Comparative research with a future, second SlowCare facility could provide details about the critical factors that make the SlowCare concept work and that create a healing place. References Gesler, W. M. (2003). Healing Places. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.
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