A new breeze is blowing through Belgian healthcare. We were talking with Christine Vandeur, project leader of Positive Health international in Belgium. She started with support for the Resilient Communities Project in Belgium.
How did you start this transformation?
As practice manager of one of the participating GP practices of the resilient communities with Positive Health Project in Belgium, I started to get more and more excited about the concept. When I underwent the training itself, I understood even better, how important it is to have healthy professionals, a vision for your team, and practice what you preach. I realized that Positive Health is really a gamechanger, and can support in the health challenges from today, also in Belgium.
In our practice ‘Prakijk Arzo Turnhout’ we were already active with prevention activities, organized meetings for the patients about health themes. I realized there is so much more to connect the dots and am happy to further support and enable the movement of Positive Health in Flanders and Belgium on an individual, on practice, community and regional level and on a national level. The aim is to collaborate with already existing projects locally (as zorgzame buurt, gezonde buurt) and to connect well to other activities e.g. in the first line zones (ELZ).
Collaboration is key
The sharing language is important in Belgium to synergize well. Positive Health is one of the interventions of goal-oriented care, it all supports personalized care, and getting clear what is of value for the people/patients. In Belgium we also cooperate well with Doctors-4-Doctors, it is so important that professionals stay passionated about their work. Eric Boydens, cofounder Docters-4-Docters and owner of the Droomgaard, always shares the great words ‘From Illness to Wellness – From I to We’ and he shows the importance of the connection between health and nature. It is a pleasure to deliver the training programs of Positive Health on the beautiful location of the Droomgaard.”
Talking about dreams, what is your dream?
It’s an exciting prospect to establish Positive Health as the norm throughout every facet of the healthcare sector. Spanning from individual healthcare providers to high-level policymakers. My ambition is to drive a paradigm shift, ultimately ensuring that care and support are tailored to individuals rather than the other way around. We still have a significant challenge in Belgium in that regard.
Any practical tips to get started?
Based on our experiences, I can share these three tips for healthcare providers, general practitioners, and policymakers to implement Positive Health:
- Understand the Essence of Positive Health: Before you can implement Positive Health, it’s crucial to develop a deep understanding of what it entails. Take the time to study and comprehend the core concepts and principles of Positive Health. This includes recognizing that health is more than the absence of illness and acknowledging the importance of physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being. Ensure that all stakeholders have a common foundation before proceeding with implementation.
- Actively Involve Patients: Positive Health places the patient at the center of the healthcare process. Actively involve patients in their own care and well-being. Encourage them to define and share their own goals and needs. Listen to their stories and experiences to gain a holistic understanding of their health. This requires a shift toward a more participatory healthcare approach, where patients are partners in their own healthcare decisions.
- Promote Multidisciplinary Collaboration: Positive Health requires collaboration among different disciplines and healthcare providers. Foster multidisciplinary collaboration and open communication among doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals. Work together to understand the patient’s needs as a whole and to develop joint treatment plans. This will help provide more holistic and effective care.
We warmly invite all of you to join this journey. Let’s collaborate to embrace Positive Health and shape the future of Belgian healthcare. Together, we can make a positive impact on the lives of our fellow citizens and pave the way for a healthier and happier Belgium.
Feel free to reach out with any questions to Christine Vandeur at firstname.lastname@example.org.