Suzanne Portegijs, junior researcher and PhD Candidate at Nivel, normally combines her research with her work as a physiotherapist in a nursing home. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 the nursing home she works for deals with shortages of nursing staff. 

All intramural working paramedics, Suzanne included, were asked to assist in the daily care of residents. Suzanne agreed and assisted the nursing staff. “We supported health care workers with daily care tasks. We also tried to comfort residents with leisure activities by playing a game, organizing physical exercises or with an extensive chat. I’m glad we could support the care staff and contributed to relieve some of the burden on them. Moreover, it was very satisfying to give the residents some extra attention during these exceptional times, as they are not allowed to receive visitors.”

Next to her care activities, Suzanne is a PhD candidate and studies people who suffer from dementia who live in long-term care facilities. These people often stay in closed wards or small-scale residential facilities, which they can only leave under supervision. At Park Vossenburg (a new location of care organization Stichting Maasduinen) an environment is being created in which people with dementia are not separated from the rest of society, but can move freely, meet others and maintain their lifestyle. The study follows the changes at Park Vossenberg and aims to provide insights in the consequences for elderly, their family, staff and local residents. Various methods will be used, including the analysis of movement patterns using sensors, observations, analysis of care data and questionnaires amongst healthcare staff and local residents. This way the consequences of changing the freedom of movement for elderly suffering from dementia on their quality of life and the societal embedding of care for people with dementia can be studied.

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