SD.20.004 – The impact of formalised family participation in the care of adults in resource-limited settings

Route: Sustainable development goals for inclusive global development

Cluster question: 094 How do we improve the quality of health care as much as possible while keeping it affordable?

In 2013 the WHO stated that there is a global shortage of 7,2 million health workers with 83 countries facing a health worker crisis. Healthcare systems in resource-limited settings are affected most and it is projected that by 2030, an additional 18 million health workers are needed to provide universal healthcare coverage in low-and middle income countries alone. To reach the health-related Sustainable Development Goals, innovative approaches are needed to cope with shortages in healthcare personnel.

It has been observed that in resource-limited settings the family takes on crucial roles to ensure adequate care for their sick relatives. Informally, they take on responsibility in the delivery of non-medical and medical care for their relatives. Family members may feed, wash, administer drugs, treat wounds or alert to medical emergencies. Family participation is a widespread phenomenon in resource-limited settings, however, in most circumstances the role of family caregivers remains informal, unsupported and untrained while the burden of care is high. There is a need and opportunity to formally involve and support the family in their care participation by �low cost, but high impact� interventions.

The proposed funding would be used to lay a scientific basis for formalised family participation interventions in resource-limited settings, build a family participation network, make steps towards sustainable implementation and start momentum for change. The funding will encompass multiple family participation projects hosted in different areas of medicine. Each project will look at patient, family, staff and health service outcomes of family participation and follows a four step approach: observation, intervention, implementation and expansion. Essential in the development of family participation is the involvement of a diverse group of local and international stakeholders to meet local needs with local and international expertise. Currently these partnerships are being formed.


adults, developing countries, family participation, Health worker shortage


Organisation Amsterdam UMC (AMC)
Name Prof. dr. M. (Michèle) van Vugt