Cyprus counts among the smaller countries in the EU, and even though it used to present a historical positive development, the country couldn’t prevent a significant economic setback brought by the 2012-2013 financial crises. Health in general, and healthy ageing in particular, haven’t been preserved by the setback.
The lack of solid health systems and services within the public sector in Cyprus has created a gap in the health market, encouraging a much more active role played by the private and non-governmental sector.
Materia Group is a private sector, multi-shareholder social enterprise. In a country where most businesses in our sector are small, family-run units, we are the only organization of this form on the island, where we own and operate two units (90 beds and a wide range of in-patient and out-patient services like day-care, physio centers, memory center), a home-care and counselling programme and consulting services to older adults and their families.
Materia philosophy, just like FrailSafe philosophy, is that an inter-disciplinary team is necessary to target the complex challenges of understanding ageing and creating an environment where people can age comfortably and independently.
Charis, head of our physio department, Stratis, our speech therapist, Saroj and Stavroula, heads of nursing team, Thekla, head of the psychosocial department, Kimon and Stelios our geriatricians, and a large number of administration, catering and cleaning staff, along with their teams who are trained to work with older adults, create the family we call Materia Group. All these professionals make it possible for Materia to be a training center for all universities in Nicosia in health and social sciences (medicine, nursing, psychology, physiotherapy, speech language pathology, nutrition, social work, sociology, and business).
Working with frail older adults is the very center of our core business for the last 16 years, as on average 92% of the patients residing in our units are frail. On the other hand, most of the older people we attend through our home care programme belong to the pre-frail group. Those benefiting from our programmes have a lot to gain from FrailSafe, both in terms of personal well-being and quality of life for them and their families, but also in terms of decreased care costs.
Materia is one of the three clinical partners in FrailSafe. Along with the Univeristy of Patras and University hospital of Nancy, we are securing the close involvement of the end-users in this project by receiving valuable feedback through different methods (questionnaires, interviews, meetings, testing of processes and products, clinical examinations etc). It helps ensure that the outcomes of FrailSafe match their needs, acceptability requirements, and expectations. Moreover, based on their feedbacks, our IT partners have the mission to modify their work accordingly, as the medical and technological objectives of FrailSafe are interrelated. In fact, this is a part we very much enjoy about working in FrailSafe, as the IT world is new and exciting to us and users of FrailSafe. We are excited to be the first ones to witness the real-life application of all those hours of brainstorming, Skype meetings, email exchanges, guidelines and tests, on older peoples’ everyday lives. Finally, we are convinced about the real potential of FrailSafe that will add more healthy and independent years to peoples’ lives.