There is a growing imperative to place people and communities, and what matters to them, at the centre of health and care services. The World Health Organisation (WHO) emphasises the need to engage and empower people as partners in creating and maintaining their health and wellbeing. The Astana Declaration (2018) advocates for policies that embed integrated care in strong, community-oriented and community led primary care. This is particularly important for people with multiple health conditions and/ or care needs managed by different providers, often through many unconnected episodes of care. Continuity and collaborative care, through planning, monitoring and review are essential if we are to achieve what really matters to the person, their family and carers. This requires the right information, advice, and health literacy support to help people to understand their conditions and how to live well. However, the realisation of these aspirations remains elusive. Professional culture and practice are notoriously slow to change, and it is highly probable that the citizen movement will grow to such an extent that the health and care system will be forced to be held accountable. The design of our health and care systems needs to be a process that is shared with citizens and patients. Power is shifting as never before – ‘New Power’ is addressing a vital issue for our times: how to make the voices and choices of all, not just a few, count for something.
In tackling COVID-19 we – citizens, patients, carers and professionals together – need to recognise that our actions will only be effective if people are engaged, informed, and supported to look after their own health and wellbeing, reducing demand on services, whilst at the same time ensuring they understand when they should seek help.
This webinar allowed the IFIC community to learn about the integrated care approaches that have been applied and the considerations that have been made to address the ongoing care and support needs of people beyond public health issues and crisis management. The webinar included an opportunity to ask questions and share experiences and highlighted IFIC's COVID-19 Knowledge Exchange Platform to facilitate the sharing of people's experiences in responding to the situation.