Social action innovations Bank

Buurtzorg, autonomous teams of community healthcare

In Barcelona, more than 300.000 people aged 65 or older live alone, of which 100.000 are over 80. Vincles BCN is a social innovation project that wants to strengthen the social relationships of older people who feel lonely and improve their well-being through new technologies. The project has the following main objectives: 1) Reduce the feeling of loneliness of the elderly, 2) Maintain and strengthen existing social relationships, 3) Expand the social relationships of people and create new spaces for the relationship, and 4) Use of IT (Information Technologies) as a communication tool to relate to their environment their environment. The service uses an app installed on a tablet as a communication tool, which will serve to put people in contact and strengthen their relationships, while creating new ones. Online communication is promoted through the app, while face-to-face meetings are organized. The app allows the user to communicate with his/her family and friends, and with the people who form app-specific user groups.

Foto: Buurtzorg

Type of activity:

Innovative organization



Partners / Funders:


Buurtzorg was founded in 2006 by Jos de Blok a community nurse in the Netherlands when he and some friends decided to set up their own group of community nurses. At the time the Netherlands health system was undergoing a shift towards centralization and commoditization of health care. He cites an example of a patient with dementia being visited by 30 different nurses and another patient who actually counted the number of different nurses and care-givers that visited him in one year – 150.

Implementation level:

Buurtzorg scaled very quickly across the Netherlands from 1 to 850 teams, in just 10 years. During this time Buurtzorg grew in other areas of care such as mental health, children and families and also supported other Dutch international care organizations to take on the Buurtzorg model of care. Nowadays this non-profit company has expanded to 24 European and Asian countries.

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