Flanders funds care centres to recruit philosophers and music therapists

Flanders has taken new measures to tackle shortages in residential care centres and short-stay centres. From now on it will be possible to recruit staff with backgrounds outside the traditional care professions with Flemish funding. These include philosophers, music therapists, masters in physical education, masters in drama or dance and logistics staff in care.

Flemish care centres have been suffering under the growing workload due to staff shortages and the impact of COVID-19. In September, there were 3,520 vacancies for nurses and care experts in Flanders. Now the government wants to make it possible for people with a different background to fill up the gap. Besides the more classic paramedical professions such as physiotherapist, speech therapist, dietician, occupational therapist or psychologists, more diplomas can now count towards basic funding.

"Until now, regulations narrowly delineated which care degrees could count for funding. We are now broadening this and creating breathing space within care teams. New colleagues with other expertises and competences come to reinforce and can make an important contribution in the well-being of residents. For example, logistics staff can be appointed who simultaneously take tasks off the hands of nurses and care assistants so that they can focus on care," Deputy Flemish minister for Welfare, Public Health and Family Benjamin Dalle explains.

The government describes the new measure as a broadening to strengthen healthcare experts, nurses and paramedics. For example, residential care centres can recruit philosophers and theologians in palliative care. Or opt for the added value of music therapy with residents suffering from depression. Or employ podiatrists in foot care etc. ​ ​

Residential care centres can recruit up to 15 per cent additional staff on top of permanent staff standards. Those staff can take over domestic and support tasks.




© BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK - Elderly carer pictured during a press moment on the International Day of the Volunteer, at elderly home 't Neerhof, in Brakel, Saturday 05 December 2020.

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