Working with volunteers

This project focuses on current challenges faced by interdisciplinary teams of mental health care in the vicinity of Antwerp. The expectations are high as health care workers are expected to offer the same quality of tailor made care with reduced physical or direct support. These challenges are situated on three levels: macro, meso and microlevel. This changed environment is created by the so called socialization of care, more articulated care recipients, crises which are reinforced by social trends such as terrorist attacks and the refugee crisis, evolving family structures, market principles in mental health care ….

Mobile mental health teams need to respond in a flexible and appropriate way and take into account guidelines, quality regulations and pitfalls while at the same time taking care for one another and for themselves. These outreaching teams intervene in mental crisis situations which is a quite new and challenging method and creates specific expectations and expertise.

This research examines the factors that make health teams, both at the team level and the individual level, successfully cope with these contexts. It also examines what they need to be able to continue to provide qualitative care and operate at the expected level.

The research focuses on possible methodologies that strengthen teams or individuals to confront the current challenges. It also looks at the content and tools that can be offered within a curriculum in order to train health teams to be able to deal with current challenges more effectively.

Research questions
– What is the impact of pressure on the care teams? (literature study)
– How can, starting from existing patterns, mental health care professionals use their talents in an appropriate and long-lasting way?
– How can they, in a process of transition, continue to attend and care for their patients in an innovative way?
– How can they overcome external and internal resistances and criticisms?
– Which methods and/or tools can be applied /used for these professionals and teams?

Duration: 2016-2018

Researchers: Hilde Maelstaf, Sophie Rimaux, Sarah Proost, Valérie Van Ceulebroeck, Lies Ferny, Anki Van Heden