Flanders invests €3 million in more workable work for healthcare staff

Flanders invests €3 million in more workable work for healthcare staff

On the proposal of Minister of Economy and Innovation Jo Brouns, the Flemish Government approved a subsidy of 3.16 million euros to set up the living lab 'Technology for workable work in the care and welfare sectors'. The research centres Flanders Make and imec, together with the colleges Thomas More, PXL and UC Leuven-Limburg, are setting up pilot projects to increase workability in childcare, youth care, care for the elderly and care for the disabled through technological innovations.

Care and welfare sectors are facing enormous personnel challenges, such as the rising demand for care due to an ageing population, labour shortages, technological developments requiring further training and increasing emotional strain. This also puts pressure on the workability of care jobs, just at a time when we can use all available hands. Through the new living lab 'Technology for workable work in care and welfare sectors', the Flemish Government therefore wants to show how innovative technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, digital work instructions and smart lifting aid systems, can increase the workability of care jobs.

Through this living lab, supported through VLAIO, the Flemish Government aims for immediate impact. The project partners not only commit to building technology demonstrators and sharing insights through all kinds of communication actions. They are also setting up at least five pilot projects in various Flemish healthcare facilities. The focus is on the regionalised care and welfare sector, more specifically childcare, youth care, care for the elderly and care for the disabled.

Close interaction with care facilities

A special feature is the close interaction with the care facilities themselves. In a first phase, their needs and requirements are identified through surveys. These form the input for the development of relevant technology demonstrators. Positively evaluated technologies (or successful proof-of-concepts from the field) are included in one of the pilot projects. The selection of healthcare facilities wishing to participate in a pilot project is done through an ongoing call.

Much attention is also paid to disseminating the knowledge and insights from the project. All implemented pilot projects are given a detailed roadmap to help other care facilities deploy technologies for workable work. This will ensure that the impact of the living lab remains even after the funded period. The living lab starts on 1 January 2024 and will run until the end of 2026.

Technology for workable work

This is the second workable work technology living lab supported through VLAIO. In 2021, the Living Lab 'Technology for Workable Work' was launched, with a focus on the broad manufacturing industry. Within this project, a free offer was developed that companies can still make use of until the end of 2024, including a Quickscan to measure the workability of your company and compare it with other Flemish companies: Investing in workability? 3 free tips to get started!

Role of Flanders Make

In recent years, we built up considerable expertise around workable work through our role in the 'Technology for Workable Work' living lab. As project leader of the new living lab 'Technology for workable work in the care and welfare sectors', we will work with this baggage. Here, we focus on the use of Augmented Reality for training, workplace ergonomics and work organisation and planning.

Do you, as a healthcare institution or healthcare supplier, have questions about this project? Then contact us.

Linda Corstjens, PR & Communication Manager

Linda Corstjens has more than 20 years of experience in communication & PR in research, B2B and B2C environments. In 2010 she started at Flanders' Drive as PR & Communication Manager and then continued as PR & Communication Manager of Flanders Make in 2014 at the birth of Flanders Make.

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