July 7, 2011
'Care farms have proven added value'
Care farms have become a serious branch of the sector in the last few years, but the cabinet's cuts to personal budgets (known as pgb) pose a threat to their existence.
Yet care farms work, Wageningen research shows. Partly thanks to the freedom of choice that clients get through their personal budgets, the number of care farms has grown over the past 10 years to about 1,000 businesses. Every week they welcome more than 14,000 people needing health care of some kind. About 70 percent of the income from care farms comes from the pgb, according to estimates by the multifunctional agriculture taskforce. Town councils will soon be responsible for allocating part of the pgb budget, under social support legislation. The taskforce asked Wageningen researchers to outline the results of research on care farms in a booklet, in order to convince municipalities of their value.
'And that value has been proven in a number of studies', says researcher Marjolein Elings. From quantitative studies it appeared, for example, that both young people with behavioural problems and elderly people suffering from dementia showed significant improvements after six months at a care farm. And qualitative studies showed that the self-confidence and self-esteem of psychiatric patients goes up at care farms.