SUSTAIN stands for ‘Sustainable Tailored Integrated Care for Older People in Europe’ (www.sustain-eu.org). The SUSTAIN-project was carried out between 2015 and 2019 by thirteen partners from eight European countries: Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Norway, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
The SUSTAIN project was designed to support the development of integrated care for older people living at home with health and social care needs. Its objectives were twofold: 1. To support and monitor improvements to established integrated care initiatives and 2. To contribute to the adoption and application of such improvements to other health and social care systems and regions in Europe.
With the exception of partners in Belgium, all SUSTAIN researchers selected two integrated care initiatives in their countries for participation in the SUSTAIN-project. The different integrated care initiatives were committed to improving their current practices by working towards more person-centered, prevention-oriented, safe, efficient, and coordinated care. The integrated care initiatives served different target groups and provided various types of care services, including proactive primary and social care for frail older people, care for older people being discharged from hospital, care for people with dementia, and home nursing and rehabilitative care.
The SUSTAIN project generated several overall lessons from its experiences of both developing and evaluating integrated care improvements. This paper highlights four of these lessons.