- Published on 30 April 2023
Among charities and organisations providing healthcare support and research, few offer a philosophy, an approach to care that prioritises the individual. But when the money runs out, ideals are often the first casualties.What does this mean globally for person-centred hearing care?
For many in audiology, such as the many worldwide clinic partners inspired by the Ida programme, the news that the nonprofit Ida Institute's funding has been withdrawn by the William Demant Foundation will have come as a shock.
Since it was founded in 2007, the Denmark based Ida Institute has been a benchmark for the concept of Person-Centred Care (PCC), organising training, writing standards in stone, providing tools, resources, and guidance for an approach to care that has spread and been written into the mission statements of countless health organisations, both in audiology and beyond.
The concept of care fostered by Ida is the antithesis of the one-size-fits-all medicine bludgeoned into the world during the pandemic, and its adherents are justifiably attracted by PCC's attention to the individual, and the bringing together of people in the fullest sense of words such as rapport, empathy, and respect.
Ida announced in February 2023 that it was drastically scaling down its activity. Its highly privileged position of receiving full funding from the William Demant Foundation since its founding had changed; the Foundation has withdrawn all funding, and although Ida has always been and still is free to look for funding from elsewhere, none has come through.
Ida's Associate Director, Ena Nielsen, confirmed to Audiology Worldnews that ALL activities are on hold except Ida's online Learning Hall. The Ida newsletter will still go out.
Nevertheless, the Institute has had to let six people go, and is now working with an interim General Manager. The William Demant Foundation announced in December 2021 that it had decided to "to focus fully on contained projects instead", as the Ida announcement phrased it.
Lars Norby Johansen, Chairman of the Foundation board confirmed that "funding has unequivocally ended, and there are no plans from William Demant Foundation to revive its funding of the Ida Institute." Underlining that "the plan was always that the funding from William Demant Foundation should be temporary, and that the Ida Institute in time should seek funding elsewhere" Johansen explained that "towards the end of 2021, William Demant Foundation decided not to renew the funding of the Ida Institute. The decision is final, and unfortunately, the Ida Institute has not managed to secure the necessary tunding elsewhere."
Where will Person Centred Care guidance in audiology come from now?
The Ida Institute has been the major guiding entity worldwide for the concept of person-centred care in hearing health. If Ida is only to continue a minimum activity, what does this mean for all the audiologists who lookfor guidance on a philosophy many have made the heart of their working approach?
Ena Nielsen played down the impact of Ida's demise: "PCC is now so mainstreamed and mentioned in so many international standards and guidelines for hearing care that I am sure it will continue to be further developed and implemented by hearing care professionals andprofessional organisations around the world. Also, as Ida resources can still be accessed, these will hopefully continue to be of inspiration in this process" said Nielsen.
As for the William Demant Foundation, it sees no break, sentimental or otherwise, with its own missions and heritage in withdrawing its funding from Ida. "The Ida Institute is an independent, nonprofit organisation, who decided their name themselves, and they are not an organisational part of William Demant Foundation or Demant. The decision of the Foundation to end its funding of the Ida Institute has no connection to the highly cherished heritage in William Demant Foundation and Demant respectively" affirmed Lars Norby Johansen.
Meanwhile, Demant - parent company of hearing care business brands such as Oticon, Bernafon, Maico, Audika,Grason-Stadler,... - says it maintains its staunch commitment to the individual user and customer.
"In Demant, we have always put the user and customer at the centre of everything we do. This is a clear ambition across all our business areas and brands, and this approach will also continue in the future. The scaling down of the Ida Institute, a completely independent nonprofit organisation, does not change anything in Demant's dedication to deliver personalised hearing care and our purpose to create life-changing hearing health" said Trine Kromann-Mikkelsen. VP Corporate Communications & Sustainability, Demant.
Source: Audiology Worldnews AAA Conference special