Scientific Programme

Demographic trends, such as the ageing of our population and the increase of chronic diseases, financial strains and the rapid development of supportive technologies in health care, urge many countries and governments to reform and re-design their health care systems. 

Within these reforms there is a trend towards an increasing emphasis on the patient’s and families’ own responsibility for health. Patients will have to rely on their family or social networks more and more.  Research indicates that as a result the health and wellbeing of families will be affected. Families confronted with serious health problems are at risk for stress, caregiver burden and disturbed family functioning, which can eventually lead to more and other healthcare problems within these families.

Health care professionals therefore need to make the shift from a patient-focused approach to a family-focused approach. Care needs to be provided in the triangle between the patient, the family or social network and healthcare professionals in a non-hierarchical, equal partnership with the support of new technologies. 

This conference will initiate an international and interdisciplinary platform to share interdisciplinary research, evidence based knowledge and experiences from clinical practice in order to realize the necessary paradigm shift towards patient and family engagement in care.  
Themes & Topics   
Supportive technologies in patient, and family engaged care

Increasingly supportive technologies in family engaged care are being developed. New movements in this area are for instance ‘the e-patient-movement’, ‘the Quantified Self-movement’, and tele-monitoring. Technological progress related to ICT, E-health/digital health, and human interface solutions is gradually more acknowledged by patients, families, patient federations, family care associations, as well as by health care professionals. The monitoring of individual and family data in home and in healthcare settings for safety and quality reasons is forthcoming. Data can be used to contribute to the information content of the electronic health care record, decision support systems, as well as for monitoring and evaluating family members themselves. Remote monitoring devices can enlarge family access to their own data, and may be supportive for people to remain at home by using devices to compensate for disability, vulnerability, and impaired functions.

We welcome research on best practices, and best failures in the area of family care supportive technologies and related implementation strategies.

Patient and family engaged care over the lifespan

Patient and family engagement in care is relevant for various health care professionals and in all kinds of clinical settings. Studies that describe and evaluate family care situations and the impact and effects of these care situations on the health and well-being of family members are welcomed within this theme.
Furthermore, we welcome presentations addressing effective interventions and strategies to foster patient and family engagement in care. How can we enhance collaboration between professionals and families? What are the most important components of effective family care? What are dilemmas in involving families in the care for patients? 
Studies and projects may be initiated by different health care disciplines or from an interdisciplinary perspective and may target all kinds of subgroups within health care; varying from patients, clients or families managing with mental health problems, acute physical or chronic diseases or physical and/or mental disabilities. Research addressing family care across countries and across subgroups is also welcomed.

Outcome measurements of patient and family engaged care

As health care systems are changing towards more patient and family engagement, quality of care needs to be redefined. New indicators and instruments are needed to measure this new definition of quality of care. New measures are needed to measure outcomes 1) in families, such as functional stressors, family engagement and family functioning, 2) in the care processes such as care coordination, collaboration and communication between families and health care professionals, and 3) in terms of effects and efficiency of new care strategies. 
Furthermore, performing solid scientific research within the context of families is a challenge requiring specific methodologies and techniques to analyse data collected from families.
We welcome research studies developing and testing family-focused measures and studies that present innovative research methodologies and techniques to analyse data designed research in family care.