Sense of home

Within residential care facilities, in addition to the focus on quality of care, there is an increasing attention for the quality of life and living of the residents. This movement is also fully supported by policy. Based on research carried out within the Social Educational Care Work programme (AP University College), we present A Sense of Home as a usable and binding concept. A Sense of Home brings together various elements that have an influence on the feeling of being at home in residential care facilities. A sense of self can be considered as the necessary condition to achieve this.

Our research project consists of various parts: quantitative research by means of questionnaires, qualitative research by means of in-depth interviews and focus groups and creative and innovative methods, such as participatory action research in the residential care facilities.

To inspire every residential care facility and every prospective residential care worker, we present, in addition to short theoretical elements, examples based on practice based visits to residential care facilities in Belgium and abroad. Information about the various research components and inspiration for the work field can be found on our website.

Duration: 2013-2017

Researchers: Maite Mallentjer, Beno Schraepen & Katrijn Van Loock




European Semester Program (EPS)

Duration: 2016-2017

This project was part of a practice-based research project within the scope of the Department of Health and Welfare of AP University College of Antwerp. The King Baudouin Foundation supported the project financially. The stay of seniors in a nursing home or care centre is usually considered to be the last stop before the end of a rich and full life. Care centres do their utmost to provide the best possible care for the elderly and offer a comfortable stay. However, many elderly people still have considerable difficulties in adapting to life within a retirement home. The complaints vary from physical problems to mental and personal obstacles.

Based on this problem, the Care Taker Team (CTT), a multidisciplinary group of six (international) students associated with the international EPS program (European Project Semester), started working with an original approach. The goal of the project revolved around developing and constructing a room – the storytelling – that reminds senior citizens of’ a feeling of home’. A room in which older people feel safe, comfortable and secure thanks to the total experience. Just like in the past, just like at home.

The aim is to make elderly people comfortable and provide comfort. Linked to the concept of the room, the Care Taker Team also developed a tailor-made app for the elderly. In the app an adapted survey was added for the elderly to give staff members a better insight into the needs and wishes of the seniors. In this way, both staff members and the elderly were given extra encouragement and motivation to have a well-founded and pleasant conversation in a safe and secure environment. This resulted in improved relationships between elderly people and caretakers and led to a more sustainable and quality hospitalization.


Persbericht EPS Project ‘Sense of home in elderly care’

Research poster ‘A sense of home in elderly care’ (EPS project 2016-2017)