Expertise lab Diversity in Care

Dutch society is simultaneously aging rapidly and getting more ethnically and culturally diverse. This calls for more diverse approaches to healthcare as well. It is well known that women and people with less education use relatively more urgent and longterm care. Now that migrant populations and LHBTQI populations are getting older as well, the care for these aging populations will need to become more sensitive to cultural and sexual diversity.

Healthcare organizations indicated that they have a growing need for insight and expertise on how to deal with the many aspects of diversity in relation to their clients, as well as their employees. Municipalities and healthcare organizations are developing various intervention methods and projects on how to deal with their increasingly diverse client population.

Earlier research has shown how these initiatives have used several divergent definitions of ‘sensitivity to diversity’. These are often ad-hoc and temporary, and were focused primarily on cognitive aspects. Very little attention seems to have been paid to the execution, design and skills of, for and by the care professionals themselves. Moreover, the expectations of professionals and healthcare organizations often don’t coincide with those of their clients and their loved ones. This Expertise Lab will bring together researchers, policy makers, social partners as well as healthcare professionals and their clients, to bring (academic) theory and daily practice closer together and to shape collective and sustainable ‘diversity sensitive care’ and related professional protocols. 

By building new partnerships between the academic world and care professionals, we can work together towards a daily practice. The inclusion and diversity policies of organizations will be embedded and sustained. At the same time, knowledge (including knowledge relevant for policy making) will be generated regarding diversity-sensitive care and professional protocols. Not only do we conduct descriptive qualitative and statistical research, we will also engage in participative projects and ‘Participative Action Research’ (PAR). The stakeholders in these processes (organizations management, professionals, clients, their loved ones and informal caregivers) will also become co-owners in the study.

The studies conducted by the Expertise Lab Diversity in Care are aimed at enlarging the theoretical and practical knowledge of the involved partners. It is their aim to care for the elderly and thereby contribute to the quality of care, the well-being of the elderly as well as the well-being of the care professionals and the informal caregivers.

  • Colourful care: to what extent are supply and demand in long-term care aligned with each other, especially with regard to elderly people with a migration and/or LHBTQI background? Wat are impediments and successes in diversity-sensitive policy and protocol? The study (only in Dutch) can be downloaded here. If you have questions regarding the report, please contact Hannah Leyerzapf 
  • The changing welfare state: In what way (and how much) do recent changes in long-term care contribute to the growing inequality between using and giving care? In this study we will conduct research to determine how much of the growing demand for informal caregivers ends up on the shoulders of women, the less educated and migrant groups. We will specifically focus on intersectional and diversity aspects like gender and socio-economic status. Moreover, there will be special attention for gender differences in relation to outcomes of informal care, like the perceived burden of informal care and wellbeing of the informal caregiver. For additional information, please contact Marjolein Broese van Groenou or Alice de Boer

The Expertise Lab Diversity in Care is an initiative of professor Marjolein Broese van Groenou and professor Halleh Ghorashi, theme leader Resilience through Diversity and Inclusion of the Institute of Societal Resilience, in collaboration with the Vrije Universiteit Medical Center (VUmc). The coordinator of the network is Hannah Leyerzapf, whose academic focus is on healthcare from a critical-intersectional perspective. For additional questions please contact her by email.