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The first in IFIC’s “Care during and beyond the COVID-19 Crisis – Building integrated care as the cornerstone of our new reality” webinar series took place on Wednesday, 8th April and was attended by 250 delegates representing 40 countries. IFIC was joined by eight panellists representing different countries and with different professional backgrounds. Each panellist was invited to give some observations based on their own experience and involvement in the COVID-19 responses in their regions.

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Amongst others, Dr Helmut Hildebrandt, Chairman of the Board of OptiMedis AG, talked of the numerous innovations and support systems that have been created before and during the crisis in the Integrated Care Systems Gesundes Kinzigtal and Gesunder Werra-Meißner-Kreis in Germany. He talked of ‘Open Table’, a service perhaps akin to Meals on Wheels in other countries whereby those who formally led the service were now more vulnerable to COVID-19 and youth groups had taken up the mantle to continue the service. He talked too of the psychosocial support services that were vital to those in isolation and those feeling anxious and they had provided a video conference coaching service free of charge during the crisis. The organisation was also providing support to people to help boost their immune systems and providing refreshing ideas for how to keep active and well. Helmut importantly raised the issue of staff wellbeing and talked of the trauma that will be experienced by staff now and the time and support they will need to recover.

With this webinar series IFIC will be offering an opportunity for the network to hear about the integrated care approaches implemented and considerations being made around the world to address people’s continued care and support needs beyond the immediate public health issues and crisis management.  

IFIC has also launched a COVID-19 Knowledge Exchange Group to facilitate the sharing of people’s experiences of responding to the situation. They will share these resources in the COVID-19 Group in our members area. To access the resources you will need to be or become an IFIC Community Member which is free to join.