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Learning from the corona crisis

3 November 2022
Vulnerable groups, such as migrants, the homeless and psychiatric patients have suffered greatly from the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They experienced major consequences of the reduced social contacts and changed assistance, especially during the lockdowns. During a well-attended final conference, the School of Business and Economics of the VU University presented the lessons of a major 2-year study in Amsterdam into the consequences of the pandemic for vulnerable groups. These lessons were presented together with the partners in this study, GGD Amsterdam, the Salvation Army, De Regenboog and HVO-Querido. This research was made possible by ZonMw.

The results of the survey have been translated into three concrete lessons for aid workers, which are picked up by employees and leaders. The first lesson concerns digitization. Project leader Prof. Elco van Burg: “Digitalization has been accelerated everywhere in society. Also in aid. The experiences are variable. Digital care was difficult for certain groups. Because they couldn't handle digital media or didn't have it at their disposal at all. Digitization is important. But look carefully at how and for whom you use it. That is why digital skills and needs must be included in the intake of a client.”

The second lesson is about moral dilemmas that arise during a crisis. Elco van Burg: “When dealing with moral dilemmas, a kind of moral council is needed within the organization. Who can think along in crisis situations and trains employees and managers in dealing with moral dilemmas.”

A crisis demands a lot from leadership. Van Burg: “Our research shows that operating in a crisis situation means that you have to be able to play chess on two boards at the same time. The crisis must be managed, in which you have to deal with all kinds of external factors and parties. At the same time, your own organization must not come to a standstill. It must also run as smoothly as possible during the crisis.”

Previous research results: