Care farms in the Netherlands: Attractive empowerment-oriented and strengths-based practices in the community

J. Hassink, M. Elings, M. Zweekhorst, N. van den Nieuwenhuizen, A. Smit

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    Empowerment-oriented and strengths-based practices focusing on community integration have gained recognition for various client groups in recent decades. This paper discusses whether care farms in the Netherlands are relevant examples of such practices. We identify characteristics associated with care farms that are relevant for three different client groups: clients with severe mental health problems, clients from youth care backgrounds, and frail elderly clients. We interviewed 41 clients, 33 care farmers, and 27 health professionals. The study shows that care farms are experienced as unique services because of a combination of different types of characteristic qualities: the personal and involved attitude of the farmer, a safe community, useful and diverse activities, and a green environment. This leads to an informal context that is close to normal life. We found no essential differences in the assessment of characteristics between different client groups and between clients, farmers, and health professionals. Care farms can be considered as an innovative example of community-based services that can improve the quality of life of clients.Keywords: Care farm; Mental illness; Youth; Elderly; Community care; Empowerment and strength
    Original languageDutch
    Pages (from-to)423-430
    JournalHealth & Place
    Issue number2010
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • quality-of-life
    • case-management
    • mental-health
    • recovery
    • perspectives
    • outcomes
    • people
    • model

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