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Care for our patients

We offer qualitative and effective care according to the most recent insights to patients, in line with our care profile. This includes care for which we have a statutory duty, such as level 1 trauma care and care to patients with rare diseases via our expertise centers for rare diseases , care within our six focal points , and complex care (such as multi-specialist or multi-diagnostic care). Our objective here is to work together with patients , so that we can give patients care that is suited to them. And because healthcare and sustainability go hand in hand, we are making our care more sustainable wherever we can.

Lifestyle advice via the Healthy Living Access Point (Schakelpunt Gezond Leven)

A healthy lifestyle contributes to good health, reduces complaints, and prevents disease. With the Healthy Living Access Point (Schakelpunt Gezond Leven) , a joint initiative of Hogeschool Utrecht and UMC Utrecht, we help patients to have a better and healthier lifestyle. Practitioners at UMC Utrecht refer patients to the Access Point. Our lifestyle consultants talk with patients through motivational interviewing. In this way they reach an action plan of which the patient has ownership and that they can follow at home. The Access Point is therefore a bridge between the hospital and the patient’s own (home) environment that contributes to prevention, reduces pressure on healthcare professionals, leads to healthier patients, and ensures more complete care. It fits seamlessly into our strategy as well as important social engagements like the Integral Healthcare Agreement (IZA)  and the Green Deal for Sustainable Healthcare .

In 2023 we expanded the Access Point. There are now four lifestyle consultants who are available on different days centrally in the outpatient clinic at UMC Utrecht. We are also building further on a strong regional lifestyle network. This helps to find each other as healthcare organizations easily and fast, learn from each other, and identify ‘holes” or redundancies in preventative care. A study group has also started with implementation and impact studies and we are working on the integration of lifestyle in medical and paramedical training programs.

Watch the video about our Healthy Living Acces Point.

Exercise monitoring for faster recovery

Exercise is important, before, during, and after hospitalization. To encourage patients to start and keep moving, we have introduced a movement sensor . This monitoring makes patients’ exercise behavior visible. For healthcare professionals via HiX and for patients on a screen at the unit and on a mobile app. Monitoring exercise, in combination with setting exercise targets and multidisciplinary support for patients, is a scientifically based way to improve patients’ physical activity and thereby accelerate their recovery. It also gives patients more control over their own recovery. In addition, it gives healthcare professionals a concrete way to help patients more effectively and give them customized advice. Since 2023 we have been using the movement sensor in all clinical sections. In 2024 we are starting to introduce it in outpatients.

Buddy project gives support to parents with sick children

At UMC Utrecht a number of colleagues in the Pediatric/surgery unit have started with a buddy project to support parents with sick children . Healthcare professionals at UMC Utrecht do their best to support parents of sick children the best they can and to listen to them. But for parents of sick children it is sometimes difficult to find an answer to practical issues that they encounter daily. In the buddy project we match parents of children with the same or comparable diseases with each other, so that they can support each other and talk about practical matters. The aim is to expand this unique buddy project to other sections such as Neonatology, and to other patient groups, like children with chronic disorders.

Making optimal use of scarce OR time

With a growing demand for healthcare and a shortage of operation-room (OR) colleagues due to a tight labor market, we unfortunately had less operation hours in 2023 than we should have had. We want to structurally reserve OR time for adult patients who need specialist surgical care from UMC Utrecht specifically.

With a growing demand for healthcare and a shortage of operation-room (OR) colleagues due to a tight labor market, we unfortunately had less operation hours in 2023 than we should have had. We want to structurally reserve OR time for adult patients who need specialist surgical care from UMC Utrecht specifically.

In 2023 we therefore redistributed the available OR time in line with our strategy and our task in the scope of the Dutch Integral Healthcare Agreement (IZA). It was no easy task. It appeared that the number of available hours was less than expected. And for some specialties there were too few training hours available to meet the requirements of their medical follow-up training. With much creativity and pooled forces we achieved some fine results in 2023.

In our redistribution we gave room for specialties in cardiovascular, oncology, neurosurgery, traumatology, and emergency care. We also started to establish preconditions to make optimal use of scarce OR time. For example waiting-time management, a centralized implementation of the digital system ZorgDomein, and centralized control of the uptake schedule.We created a more uniform process for operation schedules and GPs know better via ZorgDomein for which purposes they can refer patients specifically to UMC Utrecht.

To have enough OR time for medical follow-up training, we also set up temporary extra ‘training ORs’ in 2023. Both at UMC Utrecht, and externally in cooperation with a number of partners. In the coming years we shall also work further not only on making optimal use of scarce OR time for our patients, but also on creating more and more OR time.  

Patients get specialized drugs administered at home

In 2023 approximately 1,500 patients, both children and adults, received specialist pharmaceutical care from UMC Utrecht at home instead of at the hospital. An example is the administering of chemotherapy/immune therapy for patients with cancer. Or antibiotics for instance for patients (children/adults) with a chronic lung disorder or an infection following hip or knee surgery. In 2023 our pharmacy delivered a total of 14,000 antibiotic infusions for home treatment. Administering specialist drugs at home contributes to patients’ quality of life. And avoids unnecessary traveling. It can also shorten hospital stays or sometimes even prevent hospitalization completely.

Innovative care for patients with rare disease

Rare diseases are often life-threatening and/or chronically disabling, difficult to identify and detect, and challenging to treat (that is to say, if a treatment exists). At UMC Utrecht we feel that it is our task to be able to offer this highly specialized care. Experts from various specialties therefore work together to make the best and most innovative care available to patients suffering from a rare disease.

In our centers of expertise for rare diseases (ECZAs) patients can be helped for over 200 recognized diseases. In 2023, seven centers received recognition from the Dutch Ministry of Public Health. This includes extension of recognition, expansion with new recognized rare diseases in existing centers of expertise, and a new recognized center. In these centers of expertise we are working relentlessly to develop healthcare, education, research and innovation so that we can continue to offer the best quality care in the future. To this end, we also work with patient organizations and other healthcare institutions. Through the centers of expertise for rare diseases we have joined 17 of the 24 European Reference Networks (ERNs) .

Infusion monitoring for vulnerable babies

In 2023 the worthy cause of our hospital foundation Friends of UMC Utrecht & Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital received a total of € 7.2 million in donations. Thanks to this tremendous support our Friends foundation was able in 2023 to start up and carry out a large number of worthwhile projects. We were for instance able to purchase infusion monitors to prevent pain or nasty wounds for vulnerable babies who are getting infusions. In addition, many companies and funds made it possible for us in 2023 to purchase a robot arm for the printing of human tissue for a new left or tight heart chamber. And in September 2023 the renovated pediatric operating theater at WKZ opened its doors. Read more about the activities of the Friends of UMC Utrecht & Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital foundation.