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Powered by the DigitalHealthEurope project.

Access to long-term care for older populations is one of the social benefits that Europe takes pride in. Unfortunately, access to these services is not optimal. Barriers – digital, cultural, bureaucratic, and geographic – exist. Co-creation can, however, help design better solutions according to stakeholders’ needs, enhancing access, improving efficiency, and boosting coordination.

In June 2021, DigitalHealthEurope completed a series of twinnings. The experience was explored in webinars. One twinning took place between Rovira I Virgili University in Tarragona in Spain and an Italian Institute for Aid and Recovery Services to Older Adults. It enabled the transfer of skills between the two locations. It especially fostered capacity-building in the health and care services in Italy’s Veneto Region and has fed into European policy-making.


The transfer was based on original work done by SoCaTel. This 13-partner, 7-country group developed a platform for the co-design of long-term care services. The platform is open source. Technical support and training take place under a fee-for-service model.

SoCaTel developed expertise in bring together service users, care professionals, researchers, and innovators to collaborate throughout the platform development process. Europe’s Innovation Radar classed their co-written manual on co-creation as noteworthy. More information on the platform is available online at GitHub.

Simple two-page leaflets are written in eight languages. They describe SoCaTel’s free resources and its massive open online course (MOOC). The MOOC was part of Europe’s Opening Up Education initiative. Five higher education institutes were among the first to use it with their undergraduate and graduate students. It helped to transform the views of a young generation of social care employees. Videos explain why change is needed, what co-creation is, and what methodologies are available that can be used in the field of social care.

In SoCaTel’s last months, a lot of action centred around experiences influenced by COVID-19. In a 2020 article Blanca Deusdad of Tarragona in Spain and multiple colleagues re-imagine social work done with older adults.

The challenge in long-term care, as with many other initiatives, is to keep co-creation ongoing and the benefits it can bring occurring for all.

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