People with health issues or a chronic or life-threatening illness often experience difficulties in managing their treatment and adapting to their illness. Many face problems with adhering to treatment and a healthy lifestyle, as well as psychological problems such as depression and anxiety.

Our mission is to optimise the psychological well-being and care for patients and their significant others and health care professionals. Therefore, we examine what enables and impedes adaptation to health issues and illness, informal care giving and well-being of health care professionals, as a means to develop new interventions.

In order to reach our mission, we combine fundamental, applied and clinical research.

  • We study the psychosocial, ethical, legal, and economic aspects of adaptation to physical illness and genetic screening in patients and their significant others.
  • We study the psychological and work-related functioning of (future) health care professionals.
  • We examine the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of screening and psychological interventions.
Relevance

Better psychosocial care

The prevalence of chronic or long-lasting somatic diseases is rising. This is mainly due to earlier detection, better medical treatments and the ageing population, thus leading to an increasing number of people having to deal with long-term impaired health. Their health outcomes, quality of life, and participation in society is further strained in case of problems to adapt to their disease and declined health. This does not only put a burden on those confronted with health problems and their family, but also on health professionals.

Our research helps understand the complexity of adaptation processes. We use these insights for better psychosocial care. As such we aim to:

  • optimise the uptake of evidence-based psychosocial interventions,
  • optimise informed decision making and uptake of care by recognising the importance of own choice and personal values, and the role of informal caregivers in complex health care.
  • improve the accessibility of interventions by designing new types of interventions utilising technological e-health or m-health solutions.
  • strengthen the role of significant others and other care givers by integrating interpersonal factors and offering support in adaptation to informal care givers too.

 

  • The needs of elderly ill patients for long-term care are rapidly rising, while the availability of informal caregivers decreases. This care gap will create many problems for the sustainability of health care systems throughout Europe that rely heavily on the provision of informal care.

    Therefore, we have initiated the European ENTWINE project to investigate a broad spectrum of challenges in informal caregiving. With the ENTWINE team we develop and use innovative psychology-based and technology-based interventions that support willingness and opportunity to provide informal care. We educate a new generation of researchers to further advance and promote the adoption of such innovative solutions to support informal caregivers.

  • Health care professionals increasingly experience high performance pressure, stress and burnout. We believe the key to prevent this is to prepare students for the future.

    Therefore, we develop education and create tools to support medical students in adopting a curiosity- and research-driven mindset. Personal development, reflection and collaboration are pivotal in our approach. An important achievement is the establishment of the SCOPE center of expertise for personal development.