National Conference “Innovative Solutions in Caring for Older People”

The project “Innovative Community Care Models for People with Chronic Diseases and Permanent Disabilities” was presented at a national conference held on 5th November in Sofia. The forum was opened by Acad. Hristo Grigorov – Chairman of the Bulgarian Red Cross, Mrs. Zornitsa Rusinova – Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Mrs. Grete Odegaard – First Secretary at the Royal Norwegian Embassy for Romania and Bulgaria and Mrs. Tsvetana Guerdjikova – Head of the Program Operator of the Local Development, Poverty Reduction and Improved Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups Program.

“The topic that will be discussed today is extremely important, given the aging population, not only in Bulgaria but also in Europe. I would like to thank our Norwegian friends and partners who have made every effort to implement this program in Bulgaria.” This was what the chairman of the Bulgarian Red Cross, Acad. Hristo Grigorov said at the opening of the national conference on the topic “Innovative solutions in caring for older people”, which was held at the Headquarters of the organization.

In her address to the participants in the conference, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Zornitsa Rusinova emphasized that home care for the elderly and for people with disabilities has been the focus of the priorities of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy for many years. According to her, the goal of this pilot project is to support about 750 vulnerable elderly people in their homes in 7 municipalities in the Northwest region over the next 4 years. Its implementation is timely “as we are currently working on the sub-legislative regulation of the new Social Services Act. When testing the mechanism for remote monitoring of the elderly, there will be an opportunity for its legal regulation and implementation of the next steps of the National Long-Term Care Strategy. “, said Deputy Minister Rusinova.

The head of the project and the Deputy General Director of the BRC, Dr. Nadezhda Todorovska, said that the reality in Bulgaria requires more flexibility. “Our experience has shown that care and support are needed by elderly people in their home environment. Therefore, we must focus our efforts on making people stay longer in their homes, where they receive adequate health and social services, and new technologies will help us to monitor them. ”

According to Dr. Todorovska, home care is an important element of the overall health care delivery system. She emphasized that the main objectives of the project were to build a pilot system for provision of innovative services based on the experience of Norway – teleassistance and telecare; to engage teams of health care and social services professionals trained for the needs of home care as well as to unite other  stakeholders in a common platform to work together on the promotion of qualitative and sustainable integrated health and social services.

On the Norwegian side, representatives of the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, which is a partner in the project, Western University of Applied Sciences-Bergen, as well as representatives of several municipalities, shared their experience in the application of welfare technologies for the elderly. The National Cardiology Consultant Prof. Dr. Ivo Petrov drew attention to the experience that exists in Bulgaria regarding remote monitoring of physiological indicators in real time.

The event was also attended by the director of the Pirogov Emergency Hospital Prof. Dr. Assen Baltov, representatives of the Ministry of Health, Directorate “Central Coordination Unit ”of the Council of Ministers, National Health Insurance Fund, Bulgarian Association of Professionals in Nursing Care,  Caritas-Bulgaria, patient organizations and others.

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