GRANT. The Swedish Research Council is awarding a grant for a graduate school on the topic of Close Care, which involves collaboration among the universities in the region: the University of Borås, University West, the University of Skövde, and the University of Gothenburg. The graduate school will provide training on the transition to Close Care for at least 40 doctoral students, which will contribute important skills for both the universities and the region.
The graduate school, known as SHIFT CARE – Swedish Graduate School on Close Care for Future Healthcare and Medical Services Teachers – will be based out of the Institute of Health and Care Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, but the content will be shared among the different universities in the region.
The new graduate school has an overall goal of offering doctoral studies in Close Care of the highest quality to ensure access to teachers and strengthen the research basis in the education.
A success for the institute
Karin Ahlberg, head of department at the Institute of Health and Care Sciences, welcomes the grant from the Swedish Research Council.
“The fact that the application was approved represents a success for the institute and for regional collaboration. This will give us every opportunity to develop the Close Care field of knowledge and train future teachers! I am so happy and proud of the researchers who have collaborated on an application judged to be excellent,” says Ahlberg.
Research program within Close Care
SHIFT CARE will train at least 40 graduate students over five years through interdisciplinary cutting-edge research with solid links to clinical healthcare in the Close Care field.
Specifically, the research program will focus on the development, evaluation, and implementation of interventions and solutions aimed at strengthening and promoting the health and well-being of vulnerable groups of patients receiving primary and municipal healthcare.
The structure of SHIFT CARE consists of webinars, doctoral courses, retreat seminars, and international internships.
A new era for collaboration
“This is of course both wonderful and exciting,” says Joakim Öhlén, a professor of health sciences and research director of the graduate school. “We have long lacked a solution that more closely integrates the region’s educational programs and doctoral studies. This is the first time that a collaboration initiative has also received funding to enable implementation. The joint project team has a wonderful enthusiasm about working together to make the graduate school a reality. Many thanks to the foundation already created by the heads of departments from the responsible departments and institutes at the four universities. We feel as if we are embarking on a new era, with opportunities that will resonate in undergraduate and master’s education.”
Öhlén continues: “Through this collaboration, we will have the opportunity to develop research on the transition to Close Care and enhance collaboration with both partner universities and primary municipal healthcare and medical services, especially in Region Västra Götaland. Within the graduate school, we will also have international advisors and participants in reference groups, giving collaborations the opportunity to be enhanced in several ways.”
Person-centered care – a prerequisite for Close Care
Andreas Fors, an associate professor of health sciences, who is planned to direct and coordinate the new graduate school, explains:
“This also means that the institute’s focus on person-centered care can be developed and reinforced even more. At the heart of the transition to Close Care is a person-centered approach based on an ethic of treatment in which patients, those close to them, and healthcare professionals co-create care and treatment based on the patient’s resources, circumstances, and needs.”
Announcements before long
The first joint planning day for the graduate school is being held in December. All participating universities will meet in Skövde to celebrate and kick off after the new year.
“We have already sketched out announcements,” says Joakim Öhlén. “Both for new doctoral projects for doctoral positions and already admitted doctoral students wishing to take part in the graduate school’s activities. The announcements will be published just after the new year. We plan to start activities for the doctoral students in the autumn of 2023 with the first doctoral course, webinars, and retreats. So, we have a lot of planning ahead of us.”
What is meant by Close Care?
Close Care is an umbrella term for a new way of working with health, care, and medical services. The closest care is that which the person can self-administer–self-care–and the support organized medical care system can provide to make this possible. More accessible and closer care, together with new work procedures in healthcare, can result in better use of resources, making them available to more people. The transition is also expected to reduce the number of readmissions and acute care utilizations and relieve pressure on specialist care.
It also focuses more intently on health promotion and disease prevention and on creating better conditions for equal care. At the heart of Close Care is a person-centered approach based on the individual’s resources, needs, and circumstances. It means seeing, involving, and adapting initiatives to what matters to that specific person.
Helle Wijk and Ewa-Lena Bratt have also been part of the working group that enabled the initiative for the graduate school.
BY: LOVISA AJMER