In the media

Optimising municipal planning helps to secure the future of home care

By Anna Madsen, Tommy Søjberg Wiborg, Ulla Gramstrup

Danske Kommuner

Jun 28, 2022

Read the article in Danish here.

The municipal care of the elderly is a central part of the Danish welfare state, but it faces the challenge that, on the one hand, efficiency must be increased, and on the other hand, it must improve quality and ensure more continuity for the citizen and a better working environment for employees. This creates a natural pressure on planning services, a task which is becoming more and more complex and the daily requirement to match capacity and need is difficult to meet due to a  lack of access to the right data and poor planning processes.

If you really want to make sure that care improves for the elderly, then you have to create a real overview. Several municipalities have now realized this, and in working with them, we have seen that a more structured approach to planning has increased the time that citizens get in real face-to-face interactions with a carer (known as ATA time) by 20 percent and has reduced the use of temporary workers by up to 60 percent. Positive side effects have also been seen in the greater continuity of care, increased transparency in planning and operations, an even distribution of the workload throughout the day and week, and a more mature organisation where there is a greater management responsibility for the overall delivery of care.

Overview leads to better care

By creating as much continuity of care as possible for the individual citizen, it gives the employees a much better opportunity to oversee the older person’s health and prevent illness through more timely care and treatment. The municipalities also find  that transport time is minimized, the use of temporary workers is reduced and employees get a more predictable working day with an even distribution of the workload throughout the day and week.

With better planning, the municipalities can ensure they meet their budgets, improve future budget assumptions and project their needs more accurately, ensure better assumptions for planning actvities in general in the municipality and, last but not least, establish a solid, sustained basis for decision-making and the ability to translate strategy into practice in relation to care. In addition, there is an improved working environment and better well-being for all employees who carry out care, as a result of a more predictable working day.

Municipalities must focus on two main initiatives:

  1. The availability of data is essential to create knowledge and insight into efficiency,  continuity and, not least, the complexity that can be found around each individual citizen's care needs. By having the right tools and access to the detailed key figures, a foundation can be built that enables them to work in a purposeful and structured way to optimise planning.

  2. A few, consistent employees are crucial to the quality of elderly care. In order to increase continuity of care,  municipalities must put a strong focus on the organizational framework for the interaction between citizen and employee and establish a uniform planning approach across the municipality and ensure the the new methods are embedded through participatory processes with managers, planners and employees.

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