Protection and structure
A century ago, know-how of epilepsy was limited and treatments were hardly available. In care, the emphasis was mostly on offering a protected, safe environment with a clear structure in work and living.
The values from those early days have remained unchanged: offering the best possible care with much attention for the patient has remained key.
In the thirties the insight evolved that treatment of epilepsy was best started at a young age. That is why, in 1933, the special primary school for boys was founded. This school is in fact the basis for what we know today as De Berkenschutse: special educations for children and youths with epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders or neurological based learning and development disorders.
Separation and integration
As there was a strict separation between men and women, the first discussion about a catholic institution for female epilepsy patients took place in the fifties. In 1962, the first pavilions were built on the grounds known as Kempenhaeghe. Education for girls with epilepsy also started. Dutch society was in full swing in those years, resulting in 1970 in the integration of the care institutions for men and women and expansion of the care Kempenhaeghe offered.
The structure of care in the Netherlands changed considerably in the sixties and seventies. The government took it upon itself to finance part of the costs for care, even though the execution often remained in the hands of private organizations and monastic orders. In 1977m Kempenhaeghe was recognized as a special hospital (offering care to a special group of patients) and the Sterksel location was recognized as a care home for epilepsy patients. In 1978 a special outpatient clinic opened its doors in Enschede. By looking to the outside, a rich breeding ground emerged for external cooperation and the ambition to further expand expertise.
Building and expanding know-how
Toward the end of the twentieth century a new insight emerged that patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach. The idea arose that people with a disability have a right to their own spot in society. Rather than being hidden, they should live in ‘regular’ neighborhoods. Since 1997, Kempenhaeghe offers its residents the option to live as independently as possible in the so-called external houses.
Since 1998, Kempenhaeghe increasingly profiles itself as a (third line) expertise center. In part, this was dictated by the budget cuts in health care. Kempenhaeghe justifies its existence through its continuous development as expertise center and through various partnerships. It was only logical that the research and development policy was intensified and the first R&D manager and neurology professor were hired. In 1998, the first – now renowned – annual international symposium took place.
In addition to state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment technology, human care remains the benchmark for Kempenhaeghe. Kempenhaeghe continuously invests in the education of care providers: from neurologist to social worker and from occupational therapist to lab technician. Our goal is to offer every epilepsy patient the place in society that best fits him or her. Living independently wherever possible, offering help where needed, that’s our motto.