Vinter människa hund djur natur
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Animals and nature as part of future care

Published: 19 January 2019

Small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Norrbotten and Västerbotten who work with nature-related activities can become important health actors in the future. A new Nordic joint project at Luleå University of Technology will investigate how these entrepreneurs can interact with the public sector so that, for example, people with long-term illness can return to work-life.

– It can be about staying at a farm, and to be active in a life with other requirements than in society in general. The project is an exciting contrast to all digitization. We know through previous research that nature can promote healing, says Åsa Engström, Professor of Nursing at Luleå University of Technology.

Good examples exist, but more knowledge is needed

The collaborative project is carried out with Finnish universities. The researchers will work with small and medium-sized companies in Norrbotten and Västerbotten to map their services, and which ones that could promote the health of the population. This may, for example, involve companies in tourism, gardening, agricultural activities, reindeer herding and other animal husbandry. Åsa Engström and Päivi Juuso, Senior Lecturer in Nursing at Luleå University of Technology, believe that there are many good examples in the area.

– Region Skåne offers nature-supported rehabilitation under structured forms. We know that it provides added value for people to be with animals and in nature, but we need more knowledge and research about this. In this project, we want to find out more about what happens to people when they are with animals and in nature, and find cooperation forms and business models that can support this, says Åsa Engström.

Profits at individual and community level

In addition to large profits at the individual level, the researchers believe in positive long-term effects on public health and socio-economic benefits. For the entrepreneurs, this can mean a business opportunity. It can provide financial viability over the year and an opportunity to be able to continue to operate in the region.

– The project can help small and medium-sized companies to learn from other actors in our region and in Finland. Sharing experiences with each other, interacting across national borders and with the public sector can promote all parties. Our hope is to find models for collaboration between the business sector and the public sector, which not only benefit the entrepreneurs, but the entire population of our region, concludes Päivi Juuso.


Päivi Juuso

Päivi Juuso, Senior Lecturer

Phone: +46 (0)920 493897
Organisation: Nursing, Division of Nursing and Medical Technology, Department of Health Sciences
Åsa Engström

Åsa Engström, Professor and Head of Subject

Phone: +46 (0)920 493875
Organisation: Nursing, Division of Nursing and Medical Technology, Department of Health Sciences