Care holidays

Care holidays: a well-deserved holiday for patients and their informal caregiver.

Informal caregivers, hidden heroes

TODAY, more than 885.000 Flemish people take care of a beloved person with special (medical) needs. Because of that constant care, these informal care givers or too often invisible for the outside world.

Everybody who takes care of a family member, a friend, a neighbor or an acquaintance who temporarily or regularly needs extra care, is an informal caregiver. Some people take care of somebody 1 hour a week, others do it 24/7. Some help with the housekeeping, others help the patient with washing up and getting dressed, others help out with transportation or financing and paper work. Some people do it all. No matter how different every situation is, these people are all informal caregivers.

Care holidays

Because of their situation, it isn't easy for patients and their informal caregiver to have a holiday break. Who will take over the special care? Or, if both travel together, will everything be there to provide the necessary care? That is why Howest nursing students each year organize a care holiday for both patient and caregiver. Nursing students take over the care for the patients, under the watchful eye of the caretaker. This way, both patient and caregiver can relax and enjoy their holiday. Lots of activities are organized, sometimes for both caregiver and patient, sometimes separate activities. By organizing this care holiday, Howest nursing students have a lot of practical experience, but they also learn new skills they wouldn't otherwise learn. For example, all communication and organization beforehand is done by the students.

Meaningful activities and care

For five days, Howest nursing students coordinate all necessary care and organize activities for the caregivers and their beloved one. Last year many activities were organized for the patients: making cupcakes, a walk on the countryside, making wish cards, etc. The caregivers had several afternoons off so they were treated for example with a workshop on healthy food and a quiz.

A project with added value

The care holiday is much more than just a 'practice week'. In this short period of time, tight bounds of mutual understanding between young and old are sprouting. Here, young people experience first hand what it means take constant care of beloved one and they get a great respect for caregivers. Later in their professional careers, this experience won't be forgotten soon. Of course also patients and caregivers are very thankful to the students. After all, they are volunteering for the right cause.

Every year, the demand is bigger than the number of available places for participants. Also the operating funds are rather limited. With your support, we can do a lot more! More people would be able to enroll for the care holiday and also the range of activities could be extended: a visit to the fish market, a walk along the beach with specially adapted wheelchairs or a concert in the evening. Moreover, Howest students have to pay for their own accommodation. In the future, we hope it will be possible to make a contribution for the students, because without them and their enthusiasm, there would not be a care holiday at all.

The next edition of the care holiday is planned in Nieuwpoort (Belgium) from March 09 until March 13, 2015. 

You want to support this project?
Our bank account number: BE10-0000-0000-0404
Please use reference: C1850100-HF00011
For Belgian citizens and companies, this gift is tax deductable from 40€ or more. You will receive an exhibit from the King Boudewijn Foundation.
If you want to talk to us before making a donation, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.