Hamburg Site Visits for TransForm

Earlier this month a small team representing the TransForm project landed in Hamburg for a series of site visits just as the temperature dropped to record levels across Europe.
The team, made up of Tinne Vandensande from the King Baudouin Foundation, IFIC’s Director of Education and Training Dr Viktoria Stein and Junior Researcher Henriikka Laurola , braved the cold to visit a dozen pre-selected integrated community care case sites to explore the suitability of the project or initiative to be showcased at the 1st TransForm Conference in September.
Read more about the team’s three-day trip in Henriikka’s blog…

The conference, which takes place in Hamburg from September 24 to 26, aims to demonstrate through evidence the positive impact that integrated community care can have on improving care experiences, tackling inequalities, promoting care outcomes as well as cost-effectiveness. Through the case site visits facilitators will be able to illustrate how integrated community care has been adopted in practice through established case examples as well as newly developed ‘promising practices’. This blog will provide a glimpse of the projects we were introduced to during our stay in Hamburg.

The week started with a meeting with an AG JUMP work group representative. The working group, part of Wir Pflegen organisation, has been set up help get all agencies working together to support young carers to give them and their families a better life balance. AG Jump is preparing to start a pilot project together with a school in Hamburg to develop responses to identify and support young carers. We will be following up with the development of this significant initiative.

Another interesting initiative taking place at Hamburg based NetzWerk GesundAktiv (NWGA), a cross-sectoral aid and support network in the district, is a scheme supporting older people to live an independent, self-reliant life in their own home for as long as possible. The centre of the NWGA is located in the Albertinen-Haus Centre for Geriatrics and Gerontology. Each of the participants undergoes extensive examinations and structured tests (geriatric and gerontological assessment) to assess their individual needs. The results form the basis for the creation of an individual support plan and care which utilises technology in an innovative way.

  • Another fascinating technology initiative we visited was project VWIQ (Connected Living in Urban Communities, Vernetztes Wohnen im Quartier), which is similarly tackling the challenge to provide an aging population with health and care services and enabling them to live independently. VWIQ has developed smart homes using a combination of smart home systems, other IT and traditional service delivery. As part of our meeting with the project representatives, we visited a ‘show flat’ which demonstrated these tools and services, including:
  • Smart floor which recognises movement and weight to alarm if the older person living in the house has fallen or
  • Presence detector, an electronic device that determines whether there is no movement in the apartment for a long time and reports this to a connected service provider (eg nursing service)
  • Audio system which gives alerts such as “The stove is still on” or “please take medications”
  • LED Mood Light Vitalising Light: aimed at increasing well-being and the ability to concentrate through LEDs, which influence the human biorhythm by changing light colour and intensity

A follow-up scheme to VWIQ, is project AGQua (Aktive und Gesunde Quartiere Uhlenhorst und Ruebenkamp), which promotes health, physical and social activity of the elderly, including those with limited health. Using innovative approaches such as digital noticeboards and a mobile app to bring together the community for over-generational support and interaction, the project aims to build active and healthy neighbourhoods that support independent living even at older age.

Another neighbourhood project we visited was the community health centre Poliklinik Veddel, an inspiring initiative supporting people in one of Hamburg’s most deprived areas. Just a year ago there was one doctor working in the community, today there are 20 health and care professionals giving support to people. The passion and dedication showed by the employees impressed us. It was immediately clear to us that the centre, providing primary heathcare, social and healthcare counselling, psychological counselling and special counselling for refugees and for women as well as organising different projects in the neighbourhood, would be a great source of inspiration for international policy-makers.

Visiting the project PORT Büsum, part of a national initiative by the Robert Bosch Stiftung whereby health centres are tailored to regional needs and provide citizens with comprehensive, patient-centred, health care, including prevention and health promotion, took us all the way to the coast of Germany. The health centre in the small town of Büsum is a home to a multi-professional team of health, social and other professionals and staff use new innovative practices and applications, such as eHealth.


The highly promising projects we learned from included Landungsbrücke by HAG (Die Hamburgische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Gesundheitsförderung) which promotes the mental well-being of young people in the school-work transitional phase, and the Project CORESZON by Peter Möhrle Foundation and the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf which is doing sterling work to help individuals and communities cope with trauma and stress. The approach based on the Community Resiliency Model (CRM®) provides a culture-specific, self-help-based supplement to the standard mental health service provision. Since April 2017 the passionate multi-lingual team of CORESCON has provided the CRM-based training and counselling for refugees in Hamburg who can first use the CRM® for self-care, then to support their family or community.

Another multi-lingual health and social care team in Hamburg works at children and family centre KiFaz supporting pregnant women and families, with children up to age three, offering advice on unemployment, money, child support, nursery and school. There are also play sessions and a café where families can meet other parents and children. We were impressed by the cosy facilities of the Barmbek Basch location, which also provides cultural and religious activities, and a meeting place for different generations under the same roof.

The trip to Hamburg was a success; we learned a lot of new things and were inspired by the innovative ways the projects we visited had implemented integrated community care. There is certainly a lot the international delegates of policy-makers and practitioners can learn from Hamburg and its passionate multi-sectoral network of health and social care actors. What follows next in the TransForm project is report the details of the pre-visited case to the TransForm steering committee who will make the final decision about which projects will be included in the September’s conference programme. Each of the final case studies will be asked to prepare a three-minute video ready for the first day of the conference, September 24, in order to give participants a taste of what to expect at each site and help them choose which project they want to visit.