Group of different people

Transdisciplinary EU Horizon Europe research and innovation project to improve conditions for long-term care workers and informal carers through care partnerships

By identifying, examining and promoting good practices across Europe, the WELL CARE research and innovation project will co-create innovative solutions to support long-term care (LTC) workers’ and informal carers’ resilience and mental wellbeing. The project, coordinated by Linnaeus University, has been granted over 71 million SEK from the European Commission within the Horizon Europe funding programme.

WELL CARE is a transdisciplinary project in which researchers from five European countries and the USA, together with expertise and stakeholder organisations within health and social care, psychology, sociology and gerontology, will contribute to strengthen supports available for improving the mental wellbeing and resilience of informal carers and LTC workers.

The research consortium consists of a total of 15 partners. In addition to six research partners, it includes five national and four European NGOs with extensive national and international networks within health and social care.

“At first, the project will identify and analyse around 40 examples of good practices from the different participating countries in the field of long-term care. We will also carry out ten more in-depth case studies, where, in addition to the care interventions, we will also analyse policy, legislation, strategies, ongoing reforms and funding frameworks. On this basis, we can present evidence-based and action-based recommendations for integrated care within the framework of a solid and sustainable care partnership”, says principal investigator Elizabeth Hanson, Professor in Caring Science at Linnaeus University.

The aim is that the guidelines to be developed can become best practice for policymakers, care providers, employers, trade unions and the non-profit sector at all health and social care levels, both in Europe and beyond.

The project will develop 5-8 “solution prototypes” that are decontextualised, concrete models of innovative solutions for LTC workers and informal carers. These will be co-designed with LTC workers and informal carers together with stakeholders and then tested in different care chains in five EU countries (Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden). The project provides resources and guidance through a helpdesk that participants and external stakeholders can turn to for support and guidance.

“I’m delighted that we’ve secured this major EU Horizon Europe collaborative research and innovation project focusing on informal/family care and long-term care, which are often sadly neglected topics within such prestigious funding programmes. Now, together with our EU and international partners and stakeholders, we’ll have the opportunity to co-create new knowledge and evidence about methods and solutions for improving the mental wellbeing and resilience of carers and long-term workers, including ways for them to collaborate together so that we make a real impact on their daily lives.”

The project also have the dedicated time to establish essential local, regional and national ecosystems in the five participant EU countries that will consist of a range of stakeholders (care managers, decision-makers, policymakers, researchers, relevant NGOs, trade unions and professional associations) to help create and maintain the conditions and partnerships necessary to continue this valuable work once the four-year project is completed, thereby making an impact at an organisational and societal level.

“It’s definitely a joint effort, and I’m proud of our achievement- now as my head of department said to me recently,  “it’s to put it into action” and I’m confident that with the support of the Department, Faculty and External Relations at Linnaeus University and Region Kalmar Län (Nka unit), together with all our partners and diverse stakeholders from across Europe and the USA, that we’ll be able to do just that. So do watch this space!”

Project consortium

  • Linnaeus University (coordinator, PI), Sweden  
  • Swedish Family Care Competence Centre (Nka), Region Kalmar Län, Sweden   
  • Vrije University, Amsterdam, Netherlands       
  • Netherlands Carers for Each Other, (NLZVE) cooperative, Netherlands            
  • IRCCS-INRCA, National Institute of Health and Science on Ageing, Italy         
  • Not Only Older People Social Cooperative, Anziani e non
    solo Società Cooperativa Sociale, Italy            
  • Hochschule Zittau/Görlitz, University of Applied Sciences, Germany               
  • wir pflegen- Interessenvertretung begleitender Angehöriger
    und Freunde in Deutschland e.V. We Care Association, Germany                    
  • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, Slovenia    
  • AntonTrstenjak Institute of Gerontology and Intergenerational Relations, Slovenia
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dept. Geography and Environmen,
  • Mental Health Europe, Belgium                      
  • Eurocarers, Belgium               
  • European Ageing Network (EAN), Czech Republic                 
    European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities,