Federal Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke announced Thursday 30 June that he will invest an additional €15 million annually in High Intensive Care (HIC) departments at psychiatric centres, according to a KU Leuven press release.
Vandenbroucke visited the HIC department of the University Psychiatric Centre (UPC) KU Leuven in Kortenberg where he announced the decision. He said the additional funds could subsidise an addition of 150 full-time employees.
HICs offer patients a more effective approach to caring for patients with acute and serious psychiatric illnesses in a crisis situation. The model involves one-to-one counselling and integrates family, friends and a social worker or another professional in the treatment. The approach was first introduced in Belgium from the Netherlands two years ago.
"Results from the UPC KU Leuven show that aggression and the risk of suicide decrease significantly after an average of 20 days of treatment at a HIC ward," the press release stated.
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Dr. Hella Demunter, co-supervisor of the HIC at the UPC KU Leuven, said the approach is more effective than other methods because it is tailored to an individual’s needs.
"The treatment aims to offer maximum proximity to the patient, so that he or she can regain control over their own thinking, feeling and actions as quickly as possible," Demunter said.
There are currently nine HIC departments in Belgium, all of which are in Flanders. The model is intended to be expanded into other regions of the country in the future as well.