Three out of four men and four out of five women will become dependent on nursing care in their lives. The number of people in need of care will continue to rise for another 30 years – by around 60% in total, equaling more than seven million people in need of care. At the same time, demographic factors mean that the number of caregivers will decline. This shows that securing long-term nursing care is one of the key issues for the future.
“In the context of an increasing number of people in need of care and a declining number of people of working age, ensuring high-quality long-term care is one of the greatest challenges of the coming years,” says Professor Heinz Rothgang from the University of Bremen, who heads the T!CALL cooperation project.
“In order to meet this challenge, it is increasingly important for nursing facilities to be technologically and organizationally up to date with scientific developments. This also includes digitalization, the state of which is currently insufficient in nursing facilities,” stresses Professor Karin Wolf-Ostermann, who represents the University of Bremen together with Ingrid Darmann-Finck and Heinz Rothgang on the steering group of the consortium. Professor Darmann-Finck adds: “A prerequisite for the necessary change is the accompanying expansion of training measures in long-term care facilities so that employees can develop the necessary skills.”
Lack of Structures to Implement the Latest Findings in Long-Term Care
In order to overcome these challenges, innovations must be tested and evaluated, and positive results must be implemented in everyday life. This requires research and teaching to be closely integrated with nursing care. In the hospital sector, this is done in university hospitals and academic teaching hospitals. However, structures like these haven’t existed in nursing facilities. As a result, innovations rarely make the leap into daily care.
This is where the joint project of the University of Bremen and HSB comes in: T!CALL. T!CALL stands for “Transfercluster Akademischer Lehrpflegeeinrichtungen in der Langzeitpflege,” which means “teaching nursing facilities as knowledge transfer clusters in long-term nursing care.” The nine-year project is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with a total of 16 million euros as part of the program “T!Raum-TransferRäume für die Zukunft von Regionen” [knowledge transfer spaces for the future of regions].
Technological and organizational innovations are to be tested and evaluated in teaching nursing facilities and then implemented into day-to-day nursing care. In this way, T!CALL will contribute to improving the quality of life of people in need of care and their relatives, the quality of the care, and the quality of work for those in the long-term nursing care profession – first in the three nursing facilities being developed into teaching nursing facilities, and then, in the future, through these facilities acting as beacons nationwide. To this end, innovative structures for knowledge transfer are being set up, such as creating the position of “knowledge transfer and innovation agents” in the three care facilities, the creation of a decentralized learning infrastructure in the facilities, the opportunity for internships and work placements, regular knowledge dissemination events, and the development of knowledge dissemination materials.
Professor Matthias Zündel of the Bremen University of Applied Sciences: “We are delighted to be able to make such a significant contribution in the area of knowledge transfer and transfer research, together with all of our partner institutions. This project embraces key elements of HSB’s strategic orientation.”
Professor Claudia Stolle of the Bremen University of Applied Sciences: “The project enables us at HSB to tackle key elements such as digitalization, professionalization, the restructuring of personnel, and quality development, and to implement knowledge transfer in these areas – in direct dialogue with practice. This goes far beyond what real-world labs have been able to do to date and offers enormous potential for the further development of the profession.”
Senator for Social Affairs Wants to Give Project Maximum Scope for Innovation
Anja Stahmann, Bremen’s senator for social affairs, youth, integration, and sport: “I am thrilled that we have succeeded in bringing such an important project to Bremen. I will use the opening clause of the Bremen Housing and Care Act to give the project maximum scope for innovation and thus contribute to its success.”
Senator for Science: “University Concept of Knowledge Transfer Implemented in the Best Possible Way”
“In the T!CALL cooperation project, scientific findings and approaches are incorporated directly into the everyday life of nursing homes,” adds Bremen’s senator for science and ports, Dr. Claudia Schilling. “This creates a direct exchange between society, business, and science, which benefits all three groups. The concept of knowledge transfer, as an important third pillar of the universities, is being implemented here in the best possible way. That’s why the University of Bremen and the Bremen University of Applied Sciences have proved successful in this hard-fought competition.”
The T!CALL project is being implemented in close cooperation between science, business, education, and, above all, practice. In addition to the University of Bremen, the HSB, and the practice partners Johanniterhaus Bremen and Caritasverband Bremen, the following bodies are also initially involved in the project: the Bremen center for continuing education; the integrated health campus Bremen; the senator for social affairs, youth, integration, and sport; the federal association of private providers of social services; LandesArbeitsGemeinschaft der Frei Wohlfahrtspflege e.V.; Bremen Heimstiftung, and Gesundheitswirtschaft Nordwest. Additional partners will be integrated over the course of the project.
Nursing Care Profession to Be More Valued
In order to ensure improved care, T!CALL is also intended to enhance the value of the professional field of nursing care for the elderly. The boost in innovation in the profession will make it more interesting for young people in particular as a possible career choice, and attractive again for current caregivers, so that they can enjoy practicing their profession for longer.
Nursing-home residents and caregivers will benefit greatly from the facilities expanding to become teaching nursing facilities. Apprentices and nursing-care students will experience a future-oriented educational location that will shape their careers going forward. Representatives of the nursing facilities in Bremen can observe the innovations of the two teaching nursing facilities on-site and quickly adopt innovations that have proven successful. Those involved in the project are therefore expecting a boost in innovation that could have an impact on the care of the elderly nationwide.
Bremen as a Knowledge Transfer Region Open to Innovation
As a region with short distances, and which is already characterized by close and trusting cooperation between all stakeholders in nursing care as well as the state authorities and academia, Bremen provides the ideal conditions for implementing this project.
Information on the BMBF Grant Program “T!Raum”
The project is funded within the framework of the BMBF “T!Raum – TransferRäume für die Zukunft von Regionen” grant program. The BMBF grant program enables higher education institutions and research institutes to develop innovative transfer instruments. This should allow innovations to reach the region more quickly and thus strengthen structural change.
Professor Heinz Rothgang
Health, Long‐Term Care and Pensions (Head of Department)
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
University of Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
Email: rothgangprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de
Professor Claudia Stolle-Wahl
Centre for Nursing Research and Counselling
Bremen University of Applied Sciences (HSB)
Phone: +49 421 5905-2753
Email: Claudia.Stolleprotect me ?!hs-bremenprotect me ?!.de