Enhancing self-sufficiency among vulnerable people: An evaluative study on the perspectives of professionals on the implementation of the Learning Trajectories in the Dutch municipalities De Bilt, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, Zeist and Noord-Limburg
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In the Netherlands, numbers of non-self-sufficient vulnerable people showing confused behavior are increasing. Simultaneously, it becomes clear that providing adequate professional support for this group is challenging. In the period 2029-2021, K2 initiated the ‘Learning Trajectories’, aimed to provide knowledge and skills to professionals to improve support to vulnerable people in becoming self-sufficient. This study evaluated the extent to which the Learning Trajectories in De Bilt, the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, Zeist and Noord-Limburg succeed in accomplishing this. Influence of the Learning Trajectories was examined directly on the attitudes, social norms, perceived behaviors and indirectly on the intentions of professionals to provide the needed support. Furthermore, the role of bureaucratic and organizational environments on the application of the intentions was investigated. A qualitative research design was handled. Between mid-April and half of May 2021, fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with professionals that participated in the Learning Trajectories. Findings show the Learning Trajectories positively changed attitudes, perceived behavioral and intentions of professionals to provide support related to decreasing stress of vulnerable people, working integrally with other professionals and providing tailor-made support to the client. Social norms and intentions towards establishing a meaningful professional-client relationship were not influenced, as the Learning Trajectories did not focus on these factors. Bureaucratic and organizational environments hinder providing adequate support. In conclusion, the Learning Trajectories are effective in improving professional support to vulnerable people in becoming self-sufficient. Presentations, peer mentors , actors and casuistry meetings enhanced knowledge and skills, thereby increasing intentions towards adequate support. Determining the effective elements provides insights for similar interventions. Ultimately, this will improve professional support. However, effectiveness is hindered by bureaucratic and organizational environments. Future research is necessary on this relationship. In addition, more focus should be on establishing a meaningful professional-client relationship and social norms.