”We shouldn’t document less – we should document correctly”
Eighty home care employees from 20 municipalities shared their experiences at working with self-managed teams, with documentation challenges and with new technology at Systematic. Here, a new team app, developed in collaboration with the Municipality of Syddjurs, received an enthusiastic response from participants.
Eighty employees from 20 municipalities, which all use Systematic’s electronic care record, Columna Cura, met in April at Systematic to learn how self-managed teams can improve the quality of care, raise job satisfaction and increase efficiency – and, not least, how IT systems can facilitate the work.
The coming Seniors Act (Ældrelov) and political announcements about more self-determination and fewer documentation requirements in elderly care are leading to greater focus on new ways of organising home care in all Danish municipalities. Therefore, there was considerable interest in the day’s subject, as more than half of the attendees already had experience with self-managed teams in their municipalities.
The Municipality of Faxe, the Municipality of Syddjurs and the City of Copenhagen contributed with presentations about their experiences and about new technology for supporting the work.
New team app for improved collaboration sparked both envy and enthusiasm
The Municipality of Syddjurs sparked both envy and enthusiasm among participants when Rikke Høegh Jensen and Elisabeth Korsholm Christensen from the project ‘Mere Værdig Pleje’ (More Dignified Care) described how they had conducted experiments with self-managed teams and, not least, how, together with Systematic, they have developed a team app that functions with the existing care record Columna Cura.
The app gives employees a list of their own tasks as well as a shared list to which employees can transfer their own tasks if they are running short of time and need help. Everyone in the team can view and accept tasks from the shared list, and it is also possible to inform colleagues that you are available if help is required and you have time at your disposal. The team app keeps employees up to date on the status of the day’s tasks being handled by the team, increasing collaboration and motivation.
“We’ve done away with the constant phone calls that happened every time plans changed. Now, you can ask for help via the app, and you can also see where and how you can help out yourself. It works really well,” says Elisabeth Korsholm Christensen.
Municipality of Faxe: Less documentation not an end in itself
In Faxe, on Zealand, they have been working with organisational change since 2021 in part of the home care organisation, and which is inspired by the Dutch Buurtzorg Model with small, self-managed teams and coaching management. For citizens, this means visits by regular employees at home, while the employees experience more self-determination, better collaboration and less sickness absence. The documentation has not diminished in Faxe, but that is not an end in itself, says Ulla Johansen, who heads the home care service in Faxe East:
“We don’t think that you should necessarily have less documentation, because documentation is important if you want to be able to see and measure what works well for the individual citizen. On the other hand, we must ensure that we document the right things, and that it should be easier for our employees. We want to help make the systems easier to use – also for the generation that was not born with a tablet in one hand,” she says.
City of Copenhagen giving free rein to its home care, so that its employees are now happy to be seniors themselves in the municipality
Siff Hansen, Christina Bilevits and Linda K. Tougaard from the City of Copenhagen talked about their experiences with two projects where, under the heading ‘Give home care free rein’, small interdisciplinary and self-planning teams have been established which operate in two parts of the city with many elderly citizens.
“Now, the employees themselves have started saying that they would be happy living at the senior housing complex Sundparken on Amager because we’re developing home care that we would be willing to use ourselves,” says Linda K. explained Tougaard.
At the same time, it was clear that new procedures also impose new requirements on the supporting systems, and how they are organised.
“Interdisciplinary teams go hand in hand with an interdisciplinary documentation community, where every role must be able to see themselves in the systems. For example, it’s important when planning that it is the citizen’s situation that decides which expertise is needed for the task. Who, for example, can help Else take a bath? Does she need to be bathed, or does she just need help operating the mixer tap so she can otherwise manage everything else herself? It should be possible to organise the system so one can state which skills are required to perform a specific task at Else’s,” says Linda K. Tougaard.
In addition to the specific experiences from the municipalities, Pia Kürstein Kjellberg from the Danish Center for Social Science Research (VIVE) and Nanna Skovgaard from KL – Local Government Denmark gave presentations about specific projects and tried-and-tested elements from the Buurtzorg Model.
Satisfied participants and interest in new technology
Representatives from Systematic talked about ongoing projects aimed at ensuring greater involvement by citizens and relatives, better planning so that citizens can be sure of being visited by regular permanent staff, the team app for increased team well-being and efficiency – and last but not least, a project where artificial intelligence can help employees with better documentation.
The day flew by with all the presentations, and among those participating there was widespread agreement that it had been fruitful:
“I’m very concerned about what is going to happen with the new Seniors Act and with the documentation model ‘Fælles Sprog 3 (FSIII)’. We all agree that we need to change our ways, but we lack evidence from the area to ensure that we do the right thing. I was happy to hear VIVE talk about the Buurtzorg Model, and it was also interesting hearing about the app that the Municipality of Syddjurs and Systematic have developed which enables home care employees to help each other and ask for assistance when plans change. It was all very inspiring,” said Marianne V. Strand Pommer, Health IT coordinator at the Municipality of Egedal.
Lene Viuf, team lead for the health visitors in the Municipality of Thisted, concurred:
“It was extremely exciting hearing from municipalities that have tried working with self-managed teams and the specific experiences they have acquired. There were also many interesting aspects in the part which dealt with self-organisation and planning with the involvement of citizens and relatives. I feel very inspired by everything that I’ve heard and seen today, and I’ll be taking a lot of it back with me,” she says.