Assistance in cases of serious medical problems in Antwerp

Caritas International Belgium Assistance in cases of serious medical problems in Antwerp

Isabel Corthier

Isabel Corthier



High Care

Target audience:

People and families authorized to reside in Belgium and suffering serious medical problems.


Since September 2017


Mortsel, province of Antwerp


Offrir un lieu de transition adapté aux personnes et /ou aux familles autorisées au séjour en Belgique et souffrant de graves problèmes médicaux.

Context: Assistance adapted to medical needs

Those who receive a residential permit in Belgium transition from a reception center for applicants for international protection to a self-sufficient lifestyle. This change goes hand in hand with a number of new steps, such as the search for housing and employment, and signing up for insurance.

Finding one’s way through this bureaucratic process is anything but simple and is even more challenging for those who suffer from serious health conditions. Such individuals require specialized support, and can thus count on personalized assistance of our teams in Mortsel.

The Project: “Transit” areas on the path to an autonomous life

Since September 2017, we have set in place so-called “transit” spots for people with serious medical conditions, providing assistance with the goal of eventual self-sufficiency. They are welcomed with or without their families.

The principal goal when residents arrive is to provide them with the appropriate healthcare environment (home nurse, familial assistance, physiotherapy, etc.), as well as primary and secondary care.

An integration coach guides them through medical, psychosocial and legal plans. Emphasis is placed on training, education and professional integration. We actively search for the most appropriate lifestyle that responds to the medical needs of the individual. We also assist them throughout the first steps towards integration, for example through the process of signing up for insurance, opening a bank account or contacting the CPAS (Public Social Service Center) of their future place of residence.

“In theory, a stay at the High Project lasts six months,” explains Sylvia Servranckx, coordinator of our High Care program. “However, an exception can be made if, for example, someone hasn’t been able to find a house that is wheelchair accessible. Those who already have significant medical costs can’t always find suitable housing with money that they have left after paying their medical costs. Stays can also be extended if no spots have opened up in social or specialized housing. Without these exceptions, these individuals would find themselves on the street.”

Health and Integration Team

The High Care team is composed of two integration coaches, a nurse, and a coordinator. Their offices are located in the same office as those staying in the so-called “transit” areas so that they are always reachable.

There exists a close collaboration between the healthcare team in Antwerp and the Antwerp Housing-café. We also plan to work with volunteers. We hope to involve them in coaching people with disabilities, finding housing, or even in translation work.

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