University of Twente Student Theses


Inviting mental healthcare professionals to become sensitive for the changing healthcare practice

Emmink, A. (2022) Inviting mental healthcare professionals to become sensitive for the changing healthcare practice.

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Abstract:Mental health care, “Geestelijke Gezondheidszorg” (GGZ) in the Netherlands, focuses on prevention, treatment and cure on the one hand, and learning to cope with your condition and being able to participate in society (again) on the other hand. Mental healthcare professionals use a wide range of interventions and skills to treat patients with mental illnesses. The use of technology to inform and support the recovery process of patients with a mental illness is called eMental Health. The application of eHealth in mental health care has developed rapidly in recent years. The use of eHealth is strongly encouraged by the government, with the perspective that it would benefit the quality, efficiency and affordability of health care. However, these expectations have not been fulfilled in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic gave a new impulse to eHealth. During the pandemic, mental healthcare professionals were forced to provide care at a distance, or in other words “telecare”. The pandemic resulted in a complete switch from face-to-face contact towards telecare. However, after the initial peak of the pandemic, health care professionals almost completely returned to the ’business as usual’ face-to-face contacts. The main reason for this was that healthcare professionals believed that they were unable to sufficiently integrate telecare into their daily activities, and the assumption that patients prefer face-to-face contact. It seems that no conscious use is made of the benefits of blended care that have been experienced such as: the increased flexibility of therapy, reduction of travel time and the new ways of contact it is offering. Whilst telecare initially had to be used as an alternative to faceto- face contact, its potential of supportive means in combination with face-to-face contact, mostly referred to as “blended care”, did not stick. The question is therefore what the mental healthcare practice can learn from this period and how the advantages of different forms of therapy can still be used well-considered for the patient’s recovery process in the future. Because of the complex health care practice, blended treatment should be offered tailored to the patient. The result, personalised care, is established in the relationship between the health care professional and patient, including his environment. It is essential to keep into account that when introducing technology in the care relation, technology would also change care. However, practice shows that these changes cannot automatically be recognized and discussed by practitioners. This study focuses on finding out how mental healthcare professionals have dealt with the rapid implementation of technology in their care practice at the emergence of COVID-19 and how this has changed their care practice. Several design research methods have been applied to reveal obvious as well as more subtle changes that occur when introducing technology in the care relationship in order to support mental healthcare professionals to recognise, discuss, and consider the changing context when switching between the different ways of therapy and how this can positively contribute to the care process. The aim of this study is defined as to invite the mental healthcare professional to become sensitive for the choice between face-to-face, telecare or blended care, by drawing upon their existing knowledge and experience. To become aware of when which form of therapy can be of added value to the treatment. By the means of a Tool that invites the mental health professional to start interprofessional conversations. In order to think about the changing context when switching between the different ways of therapy and how this can positively contribute to the recovery process. This way blended care can be used more considered, well-balanced and personalised for the patient and professional.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:50 technical science in general
Programme:Industrial Design Engineering MSc (66955)
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