Hotel industry knowledge in research into home recovery for colon cancer patients

A consortium of the Medical Delta Living Lab Better In Better Out researching faster and better home recovery for colon cancer patients after surgery has been awarded a KIEM grant by the organisation SIA for this purpose (SIA is funding research and facilitating collaboration between universities of applied sciences, industry, and public bodies).

Hospitalisation for surgery can have a significant impact on cancer patients. Even if the procedure is medically successful, patients can often experience a great deal of uncertainty after being discharged from the hospital. The complexity and multitude of treatments is one reason for this, and if the discharge process doesn’t proceed smoothly and doesn’t meet the needs of patients, it can further amplify the anxiety. These factors can lead to delayed recovery, unnecessary hospital readmissions, and stress and uncertainty for the patients and their families.

Healthcare professionals don’t yet know enough about what patients need following an oncological operation to feel good in their own homes again. They also don’t have enough know-how on how they can offer primary and secondary care at the same time. Additionally, there’s not enough understanding of how healthcare technology can support healthcare providers and cancer patients in their home environment.


The research project 'A five-star experience at home' aims to promote the recovery and well-being of patients and their loved ones after oncological surgery. One element is researching the role of technology to assist healthcare professionals and informal carers in creating a smooth transition from hospital to home. Hotel industry knowledge and expertise are referred to as a basis for the hospital discharge procedure. After all, the hotel industry has perfected the best check-out procedure which contributes to a positive evaluation of a hotel visit.

The research has two phases:

Phase 1: The discharge process is reviewed, based on research into the wishes and needs of the cancer patients and their families and based on the experience of healthcare professionals and the hospitality industry.

Phase 2: Research is conducted into how technological developments (such as self-monitoring) can contribute to the recovery of cancer patients in their home environment.

The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Haaglanden Medical Center, and the University Cancer Center Leiden-The Hague work together in the Medical Delta Living Lab Better In Better Out. The consortium is reinforced by Hotelschool The Hague, Inn4Cure, B&B Healthcare, and Erasmus MC for this specific research project.

New insights from the hotel industry

“The collaboration between the hotel industry and the healthcare sector means that this research transcends disciplines. It will undoubtedly provide new insights into healthcare and improve out-of-the-box thinking, which in turn contributes to strong innovation," says professor Angelique Lombarts, who works at Hotelschool The Hague. “At the same time, it introduces future employees in the care and hospitality industries to another aspect of ‘taking care of’ and ‘caring for', and it broadens the range of solutions for both.” According to lecturer and oncological surgeon Joost van der Sijp, who works at Haaglanden Medical Center and The Hague University, this will also increase staff interchangeability between the hotel and healthcare sector, where there were already significant staff shortages before the corona epidemic.

The research project is relevant for the hospital because a better discharge process leads to fewer readmissions, fewer insecure patients calling from home, and more satisfied patients. In addition, healthcare professionals place importance on a good network of primary care professionals and a smooth transfer from the hospital to provide optimal care. The company Inn4Cure can further develop its self-monitoring in lifestyle and wellbeing indicators. But above all, it is relevant for the patients and their relatives because it promotes wellbeing and recovery.

The research will start early next year; with the first results expected in mid-2022.

Dr. Joost van der Sijp
Lecturer Oncological Care The Hague University
Oncological surgeon Haaglanden Medical Center

Dr. Angelique Lombarts
Professor in Hospitality, Happiness & Care Hotelschool The Hague