A smart bed in the Hospital Room of the Future, home consultations with Google Glass and a 5-star hotel experience during rehabilitation. The Oncological Care Research Group conducts research on practical applications that benefit (cancer) patients. On 20 April, the research group will celebrate five years of research with a lustrum symposium.

‘We are looking for solutions to make care less expensive and that will probably lead to long-term health gains and a better quality of life. For example, the fitter and healthier the patient is before surgery, the less risk of a complicated and therefore expensive operation,’ explains professor Dr Joost van der Sijp, who also works as an oncologist at the Haaglanden Medical Centre (HMC).

City of Zwolle 

The city of Zwolle is home to 127,000 people. That is almost as many as the number of people diagnosed with cancer each year in the Netherlands. The mortality rate in men and women is 24,000 and 20,000 per year respectively. Roughly twice the population of the city of Wassenaar. ‘Everyone knows someone close to them who has dealt with cancer,’ says Joost.

Better pre and post treatment

We are living longer and consequently our chance of contracting a form of cancer increases. Yet, the number of people dying of cancer has been declining since 2010 as care for cancer patients continues to improve. The research group focuses on research on better pre and post treatment and works closely with HMC and other healthcare institutions in the region. ‘We facilitate research sites in the region and involve students of the Human Movement Technology| Human Kinetic Technology, HBO-V, Nutrition and Dietetics and Industrial Design Engineering and other degree programmes in our research.

Better in, better out

For example, HBO-V students and the research group are involved in the Medical Delta Living Lab Better In Better Out in HMC. The group conducts research on how to promote a healthy lifestyle prior to treatment. Because patients who are fit recover faster from surgery. Joost: ‘Through the use of apps, we can encourage a healthy diet and exercise, for example.’

Living room

A patient also recovers quicker if there are opportunities for exercise in the hospital room. With the project Hospital Room of the Future, the research group, together with HMC Antoniushove, is researching (technological) innovations, such as a 'smart' hospital bed that can perform a number of measurements (weight and movement). Students of the minor Oncology, together with students of Hotelschool The Hague, are conducting the study '5 stars at home'. Joost: ‘Studies show that patients who stay in a living room environment with a high level of hospitality require a shorter admission period. Here we are talking for example about the perception of smell, the choice of wallpaper and, of course, good food.’

Lustrum symposium

During the lustrum symposium on 20 April, a number of inspiring speakers will look back on these and other research projects and look ahead. For example, how can regional cooperation be further strengthened and how can it best contribute to further improvement of care?