Local Learning Network improves care for Older Migrants in Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Last February, Sterker, a social work organization in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, finished a project for elderly migrants funded by ZonMW, The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development.  The aim of the project was to facilitate exchange of expertise and cooperation between different partners who work for and with older migrants by creating a local ‘learning network’. ENIEC member Conny van der Aalsvoort was the project leader.

The network brought together several care organizations, both culturally specific and mainstream ones. In addition, older people and family carers with different cultural backgrounds were members of the network, to ensure that the needs and wishes of local minority communities were met.

The network is still growing and receives a newsletter twice a year to keep everyone informed and also to provide a platform in which they can inform each other. There have been meetings for real-life case deliberations, masterclasses and a field visit to a location for culture-sensitive care. In this way, a diverse group of professionals could exchange their experiences and learn from each other. In many dialogue-meetings, migrant communities were informed about the services that are available to them. One of the new initiatives that resulted from this project is the development of a daycare facility for migrants with dementia and a pool of culturally sensitive care workers.

The learning network met its aim to improve the local provision of services and information about health for older migrants.  Cooperation between local stakeholders and the quality and accessibility of service provision to older migrants were also improved. Another main outcome was that a central source of information was built. This has made information and personal advice on intercultural care easy to reach.

A working group with people with diverse cultural backgrounds and professions will continue to monitor the initiatives that have started and the development of new ones. This group has also written an advisory report on intercultural elderly care that was presented to the regional network on elderly care Netwerk100.

If you like to hear more about the project, you can contact Conny at: c.aalsvoort@gmail.com.

Written by ENIEC member Conny van der Aalsvoort