Place of work / study:
End-of-Life Care Research group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Brussels (Belgium).
Area of Research:
The scope of my research is dementia, palliative care, and technology. I have a background in communication, nursing, and health policy. My PhD research is centered around the use of technology for people with dementia and their families to support them in conversations about end-of-life preferences.
How is your work funded?
My work is part of the project ‘CAPACITY: Flanders Project to Develop Capacity in Palliative Care Across Society’, a collaboration between the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Ghent University, and the Catholic University Leuven, Belgium. This project is supported by a grant from the Research Foundation Flanders.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am Dutch and moved in 2014 to Antwerp (Belgium) to become a nurse. Since 2017 I am living in Brussels and working for the End-of-Life Care Research group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium. I worked, among other things, on the improvement of palliative care for vulnerable populations. Currently I developed an user-centered advance care planning website specifically designed for and with people with dementia and their families.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I am an enthusiastic hockey player and occupy the position of central striker. With my team, we play throughout Belgium, and as it looks now, we will promote to the second national division next year. In addition, I am a big fan of the sea, and in the summer, when the wind is strong enough, I love to go windsurfing.
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
Through my work as a care assistant in residential care, I saw that especially palliative and end-of-life care was not tailored to the needs of people living with dementia. My will to improve care for people with dementia led me to become a nurse, doing an MSc in Healthcare Management and Policy and Ph.D. in palliative care for people with dementia.
What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?
There are many, but I think the most important is building a (support) network. Research is a team effort. Think about forming new collaborations, but also talking to peers could support you in creating new ideas or understanding that you’re not the only one that’s struggling.
What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
Vita di Galileo – I like to read books unrelated to my work or research. This book was recommended by a friend, and I would recommend it as well. I wanted to know more about Galileo and because this book is actually a play, it is fun to read. Also, the book is small making it easy to take with you when commuting.