Optimising caregiving competences and skills of professional, volunteer and informal caregivers: European research report 2

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Abstract

The population in Europe is ageing, and the number of older citizens is growing. Consequently, projections predict an increase in care needs. The literature points towards two main challenges. First, older adults with care needs are susceptible to social exclusion.
Second, there are growing challenges in professional care services (i.e., overburdened workforce, and budget cuts). Currently, professional care focuses on the medical and physical aspects of care from a deficit approach (looking at what older adults cannot do anymore). However, many caregivers claim that an innovative paradigm shift is needed towards a positive approach (looking at the potentials of older people) and towards caring for social and meaning needs (Machielse et al., 2022). However, they often lack the competences for this as this is not part of their professional training. Nor does a lifelong learning course on these topics exist.

The SeeMe project aims to improve the quality of care for older adults by contributing to the knowledge of the needs of older adults and by increasing the skills and competences of different groups of caregivers to respond to that needs. The emphasis here is on caregivers' competences to 'see' care as something more than physical and medical care, to 'see' the older person behind the patient, 'see' social and meaning needs, and 'see the positive talents and dreams of older adults, not only their needs. In this way, the SeeMe project contributes to the social inclusion of older adults.
This report focuses on caregivers' competences and skills to 'see' older adults. It is based on an extensive literature review complemented by qualitative interviews with caregivers. The report starts with a summary of recent developments regarding the care systems in European countries (Chapter 2). Then, we describe some innovative trends in healthcare to meet the needs of older adults and the consequences of caregiving in general (Chapter 3). Next, we describe the different types of caregivers involved in the care of older people (Chapter 4). Subsequently, we address the competences and skills of professional caregivers, volunteers, and informal caregivers, respectively (Chapter 5). After that, we present the perspectives of the SeeMe informants (Chapter 6). We conclude with some points of attention for caregivers and a summary of required competences and skills for caregivers (Chapter 7).
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean Union
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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