This is the third newsletter of Caring Society. If you did not receive it by email, please subscribe to the Newsletter here. You can also read the newsletter below:



This is the third newsletter of the Caring Society. Caring Society (CASO) stands for Building Communities, Social Inclusion and Health(care) Development. The consortium consists of 3 South African (SA) and 3 European universities which closely collaborate to:

  • further develop and improve healthcare and wellbeing education,
  • improve the position of patients by involving them in classroom settings,
  • promote healthy lifestyles and
  • improve the competence level of healthcare professionals.

Updates on the CASO Programs

Patient Partner Program:

Working towards one of the program’s goal, i.e. to develop a socially-responsive communication curriculum for Health Sciences students, this work package brought together three significant groups of stakeholders:

  • a multidisciplinary academic ‘Staff Partner’ team (doctors, psychologists, social workers, physiotherapists, nurses and a linguist),
  • a ‘Student Partner’ team (undergraduate South African medical students; Dutch and Belgian social worker students; Finnish multimedia students; and South African postgraduate students in the fields of Health Sciences Education and Adult Education), and,
  • a ‘Patient Partner’ team (ten lay people recruited from communities around Cape Town as ‘experts by experience’)’.
    The Patient partner program is on the brink of entering the next phase of their development. This will require intensive training sessions (involving Zakheni, staff and students) and authentic role-playing. Furthermore, they will have to be mindful of providing empathetic feedback. Read more about their progress here.

Health & Life Style Program:

Thus far, the health and lifestyle program has the most visible outcomes. UWC hosted a two-week intensive program from 5-16 February valued at 5 ECT’s (10 Credits) as a first pilot phase for the Erasmus+ CASO Healthy Lifestyle Work Package 2.2 Project. The program was preceded by the 5 ECT online module managed by Lahti, providing background theory to health promotion and movement development as well as background to SA schools.

The intensive program focussed on the practical application and development of physical activity programs using the theoretical knowledge from the online module. Students were also exposed to workshops in Cultural Diversity (offered by WP2.1) and Empowerment (offered by WP2.3) as overlapping topics between the different work packages. Staff from all three SA partner institutions participated in this two-week program.

The students moved on to complete a 60-day internship program with CPUT as part of the project that was completed in the first week of April. The pilot phase 1 modules were evaluated during the March Consortium meeting in Cape Town and will be amended for pilot phase two to be implemented in September 2018. Read more about the program here.

Empowered Caregiver Program:

After a thorough literature review and feedback from students, professionals in practice and colleagues, a decision was reached to tailor the outcomes in order to address the needs of the social healthcare community. Therefore, the overarching aim has been adapted to

  • create an empowered social healthcare professional/ student/ academic
  • establish and maintain continuous collaboration between partners and ensure sustainability of the programme

The interlinked themes for creating an innovative learning module are:

  • Leadership and interprofessional collaboration (10 ECTS)
  • Evidence-based Healthcare (5 ECTS)

The E-Learning module’s main structure has changed to be more adaptable and user-friendly for a variety of Healthcare professional. The module will be is based on 3 overall concepts:

  1. Lifelong learning
  2. Critical thinking and
  3. International development

All outcomes are aligned with the ICOMS module for the curriculum. Each module is structured on 3 levels:

  1. Empower Yourself
  2. Empower Others
  3. Empower Society

By changing the module, we hope to have achieved a module aligned to address the outcomes identified through the needs analyse outcomes and thus create an empowered caregiver. During the Cape Town staff meeting (March 2018) the design of the MOOC was developed and the content was uploaded. The first pilot for Evidence-Based Healthcare will run during June 2018 by Lahti University of Applied Sciences.

External Review Committee:

We welcomed the external review committee (ERC) to the 4th CASO meeting. The ERC is a vital part of the Quality control team which ensures quality measures and monitors the CASO activities. The ERC committee comprises of four experts, two European and two SA partners. They are:

  • Annick Vlaminckx is departmental director of the Umbrella Organisation for Catholic Education in Flanders (Belgium).
  • Mervin Bakker is the representative director for South-Africa of Nuffic/Neso.
  • Sonia Botha is provincial deputy director of the department for child health, integrated school health & Adolescent Youth Services in the Western Cape.
  • Dr Omar Esau is a lecturer Curriculum Studies at the Stellenbosch University.

Their primary tasks are to assess the work plan and the quality standards of our project, an evaluate the draft design of the three programs during a mid-term review in Cape Town, March 2018, as well as the end term review of the developed programs.

CASO Interns Making a Difference

Play Sports for All (PS4L) and CASO have strengthened their relationship, through their related beliefs in the importance of promoting community development with the use of health and wellness principles. To create an impetus to their cause of enhancing healthcare, PS4L and CASO have implemented the use international student interns. These interns from the Netherlands, Belgium, and Finland have been placed in a few of PS4L’s target EduSport schools, since the beginning of February. Read more about this amazing partnership here.

CASO Interns were exposed to the Association for Persons with Disabilities (APD) that use leisure as a means to skill adults with various disabilities to enter the workforce. APD is an NPO that serves persons with mental, physical and emotional disabilities from previously disadvantaged communities. With a growing need for rehabilitation, special care centres, practical skills training and job creation. The Association offers protective workshops and a look into various employment options and develop the skills for employment and providing the support to begin. The Association also have to embark on fundraising activities to sustain their programs. Government funding for NGO’s is never enough to make the programs sustainable.

Some unexpected outcomes were CASO students finding jobs with PS4L, students committing to extra voluntary work as well as raising funds for “The Physically National Disabled Games” which took place over the Easter weekend in Durban.

Unexpected Outcomes

An unexpected outcome of the Empowered Caregiver Program was the Inter-profession Communication Workshop and CRM training offered by Karel de Grote lecturers and CASO team members Stef Janssens and Veronique Fromont. The Western Cape Department of Health hosted a two-day workshop, this will be followed by an e-learning module over 6 months, which will allow participants to train in the principals of Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) communication modules.

The first day covered:

  • Understanding the principles and the theoretical background of SBAR
  • Integrating SBAR into practice
  • Understanding the CRM principals

Ten nominees took part on Train the trainer course the next day. This consisted of

  • Integrating CRM principals into practice
  • Participating in actively scenario-based training
  • Giving immediate feedback
  • Debriefing a simulation training/real situation using the “Debriefing with good judgement”
  • Clinical simulation scenarios training to practice skills a safe learning environment as close as possible to the real context

The aim of this training was to strengthen meaningful and effective communication in all directions between clinical staff and patients, between members of the multi-disciplinary teams, between staff at different institutions, between management and clinical staff, between line function and support service staff and between the Department and the strategic partners and stakeholders, by applying and linking practical skills to the theoretical knowledge learned.

All work and No play makes CASO a dull team

The 4th CASO meeting continued to promote international collaboration, as well as creating a spirit of inter-cultural understanding, knowledge-exchange, experience-sharing, enriched learning opportunities and enhancing of networks. All important mechanisms towards reaching the CASO project goal.


The next CASO Consortium will meet in November 2018 in Antwerp, Belgium. Till then we will endeavour to reach our targets as planned at the Cape Town meeting.


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