Wilco Achterberg is an elderly care physician and medical advisor at Topaz Leiden. Topaz specializes in rehabilitation and elderly care at home and in residential care centers, and in Huntington’s disease. He is also a professor of institutional care and geriatrics (elderly care medicine) at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), the Netherlands. Next to that he is visiting professor at Bergen University (Norway).
Leiden University Medical Center is one of the 3 centers that are officially recognized as elderly care medicine training center. The research program that Wilco is leading has 3 themes: quality of life in dementia, geriatric rehabilitation and palliative care in a vulnerable brain, especially dementia. Next to national and European grants, many research projects are initiated, financed and performed together with 12 large nursing home organizations in the region, the UNC-ZH (University Network for the Care sector South Holland).
After being registered as a nursing home physician
in 1996, he started doing research next to his work as a physician in a nursing home. In 2004 he did his PhD thesis, ‘Caring for Quality: the use of the Minimum Data Set for quality improvement in patient care and research’ at the Vrije University of Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam). In 2010 he was appointed the chair of elderly care medicine in Leiden, which he celebrated in 2011 with his lecture: Connecting in elderly care medicine
. Elderly care medicine (formerly known as nursing home medicine) is an officially recognized medical specialty, with an officially recognized 3 year training program since 1989. It is an answer to demographic changes that lead to much older people, also much more older people with complex medical problems.
Wilco’s research work focuses on quality of life in dementia, palliative care in dementia, geriatric rehabilitation and long-term care for Huntington’s disease, a rare, inherited disease that causes the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. Some of his research work were: Pain management in patients with dementia, Interventions targeting pain or behaviour in dementia, and The importance of pain management in older people with dementia. He has 30 PhD students, and has many international research collaborations within Europe, Brazil and Australia.