The 2 Seas area is facing a common problem – rising demand for health and social care services by our growing older population – creating a pressing need to find new approaches.

EMPOWERCARE (EMPOWERing individuals & communities to manage their own CARE) has been awarded more than 4 million euros of European funding (via the European Regional Development Fund) as part of the Interreg VA 2Seas programme. This project, with a total budget of over 7 million euros, includes 13 partners from the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Logo Interreg Empowercare

VITO's main activity in this project was the development of the EMPOWERCARE Technology Blueprint. The Technology Blueprint is an online tool that helps to implement a healthcare technology in accordance with the Caring Technology Principles, by offering a step-by-step guidance tailored to the innovation needs of your organisation.

Project summary

In order to create resilient communities and reduce individual frailty and loneliness, EMPOWERCARE will develop a holistic community asset approach using research-based solutions to respond to current gaps in the care of people in the target group (those ages 65+ and those aged 50+ with at least one chronic condition). EMPOWERCARE will address the issues facing our societies concerning the care of our ageing population; older people are not being involved in decisions concerning their own health and wellbeing. In combining the work of a number of existing and tested partner solutions from across the 2 Seas area the project will ensure that older people are at the forefront of improved technology and better care for within their communities. This will not only improve their situation but also tackle the financial issues of an ageing population and improve social cohesion, and implement a community of practice dedicated to the problem at hand.

EMPOWERCARE will take a holistic approach, with 3 areas of activity:

Empowerment, Technology Strategies & Workforce Development resources. These will contribute to a person-centred approach to care and technology knowledge transfer whilst reducing isolation/loneliness and increasing solidarity amongst older people. Community Asset Based Development approaches will get to the heart of what matters most to local communities by harnessing skills and expertise of local people, co-creating innovations that make a real difference to lives, health and wellbeing. The project will oppose a medical deficit model and instead focus on empowering people to take more responsibility for their care using technology and local services to keep them in work, healthy and motivated, having control over decisions that affect their health and wellbeing. Learning networks will enhance shared learning amongst professionals and families to ensure durability and transferability.

VITO is involved with the BIBopp empowerment technology where we work with people to enhance their control on their personal health data. Together with Domus Medica and LiCalab, we develop tools to give the citizens insights based on their own health data, and to use these for compiling a tailored action plan.

In the EMPOWERCARE project VITO will be working with:

  • The Health and Europe Centre (UK)
  • Care Group H Hart (BE)
  • Kent County Council (UK)
  • Solidarity University (NL)
  • Nord Departmental Council (FR)
  • Province of Antwerp (BE)
  • University of Brighton (UK)
  • Canterbury Christ Church University (UK)
  • Not for profit Wieltjesgracht (BE)
  • Family Help NPO (BE)
  • Boone NV (BE)
  • SWVO (NL)
  • VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research) (BE)

This project receives co-financing from the province of Antwerp