Study visit of EU_SHAFE good practices for a better quality of life for older people in Spain - the experience of a representative of the Slovenian Ministry of Health

Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia, as a partner of the European project EU_SHAFE, which addresses good practices in the field of better quality of life for older people, actively participated in the final conference of the project in Bilbao, Spain. Anita Molka, project leader and coordinator in Slovenia, presented the key results of the project, followed by the challenge of disseminating the identified good practices for quality of life for older people across the project partner countries and beyond. As a representative of the Ministry of Health, I attended the closing event after the invitation of the Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia to see examples of good practice in Bilbao and to learn about other identified good practices, notably the "Health Kiosk" in Hamburg.

The "Health Kiosk" was set up in the districts of Billstedt and Horn, which are among the poorest districts and where there is a need for integrated care. It is patient-centred, located in the centre itself and people can come for a consultation without an appointment. Preventive care is a priority, as well as reducing the number of hospital admissions. Good practice aims to reduce social inequalities in access to health services, which are offered as close to people's homes as possible, regardless of whether they have health insurance or not. It is about improving the integration of health and social care services, which in professional terms means working towards an integrated approach. This means, on the one hand, taking social issues into account in the provision of health services and, on the other hand, addressing health and social issues of individuals simultaneously, as far as possible.

In Slovenia, we have a number of challenges at primary level. However, in recent years, there have already been a number of changes to improve the care of people with chronic non-communicable diseases through the introduction of referral clinics, in the area of mental health care through the introduction of centres for the promotion of the mental health of children and adolescents and adults, in the area of the patronage service, and so on. However, there are also key challenges ahead of all of us in terms of the ageing population and long-term care, which is now under the auspices of the Ministry of Solidarity Future.

Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia has its "heart" in the right place. Although they are not focusing on cardiology, it cares for the quality of life and well-being of people in the local area and beyond. I can conclude with certainty that this is an organisation with very competent staff who truly work with their hearts to increase the quality life in local environment. 

In the framework of the EU_SHAFE project, the identified good practice examples will be presented to the Ministry of Health, where the needs and possibilities for implementation will be carefully considered.


Dr. Vesna Zupančič, Directorate for Nursing, Ministry of Health