With the clients at DSV|verzorgd leven: ‘If you don’t keep a good eye on your clients, things can escalate quickly.’
DSV|verzorgd leven Netherlands provides internal and external services for care of the elderly, residential care and general wellbeing. The company’s home base is Katwijk, a coastal borough in southern Holland. A long way from the trendy big cities, but when it comes to care, DSV is right at the top of the tree. A personal relationship between client and care-providers is central to DSV’s philosophy. How does it work? With small teams, motivated professionals and efficient organisation. Gerard Herbrink, DSV’s director and manager, tells us more.
Constructive care innovation
Gerard began his career as a care-provider: ‘I worked in a nursing home, so I know the care industry inside out. After that I did 15 years of acute care, which took me back to care for the elderly. This year I will have been with DSV|verzorgd leven for 16 years: for the first 8, I worked on care quality and internal organisation, while over the past 8 years, I have focused more on the transition from care in convalescent homes to care in nursing homes, as well as development of the organisation and new-build projects.’ The aim is to enable people to stay in their own home for as long as possible: ‘When they can no longer manage, our residential care comes into the picture. We provide care to around 900 clients, of whom 280 are residential. Everyone with a need for care is monitored by Pyxicare, except for domestic help.’
Necessary efficiency exercise
Pyxicare meets a need: ‘By helping with the transition from the general law on exceptional medical expenses to the Care Assurance Act in which the care-provider itself has to provide a recommendation as to the care required. The government wanted a system capable of doing this. And at the same time we wanted a package to support our care processes – one that could operate residentially or at home and would improve our quality cycle. So much more than just providing a recommendation.’
Scientific and easy to use
DSV also looked at Omaha: ‘But we wanted a system that would also provide a scientific basis for our recommendations. It also has to be easy for carers to use who do the preparatory diagnostic work so that the nurse can confirm it.’ Pyxicare structures and guides the care that is provided, says Gerard: ‘Would you believe it if I told you that the whole Pyxicare implementation happened almost unnoticed (laughs)? Step by step and virtually without a sound? And if there was any discussion, it was about the content of the care. Naturally, some people felt a bit put upon from above. But almost everyone could see straight away that it is a tool that improves care.’
Everyone agrees, including carers
The DSV boss sees it as an investment: ‘When people move from homecare to residential, they remain within a single system. I very much like the fact that Pyxicare not only keeps the client clearly in the picture, but also focuses on the carer system. You can see immediately what is realistic to expect from care-providers.’ Pyxicare provides greater structure, says Gerard: ‘Regardless of who you’re sitting opposite, it produces tangible recommendations, not guesswork. Based on international algorithms, although everything stays transparent. There are no gaps between the disciplines any more and all existing information is known immediately when someone new signs on to the system. So as a carer you don’t have to keep explaining everything over and over again.’
Rising care workload, more optimal care
How are things in terms of workload? ‘People and resources can be put to more effective use. With some people in homecare we have seen care levels fall, while with others, um… well, we were rather shocked (laughs). It turns out that demand for care was much higher than estimated after an assessment report. The burden of care in homecare is rising sharply: because people need to stay in their own home for longer, but also because they tend to say nothing for longer, too, either out of pride or a lack of knowledge.’ DSV now has a better grip on the planning cycle: ‘It’s all more clearly organised now, including the way we work with GPs. But things aren’t totally quiet: long-term homecare is set to play an even greater role in the years to come.’
Better care: better education
Gerard is very much committed: ‘We sometimes look at things too philosophically or analytically. Nurses mainly want to be hands-on and make a difference: which is why I myself and 3 colleagues want to change healthcare education.’ Young DSV staff are very medically minded: ‘I generally receive their careful analyses within a few days. But when it comes to the welfare of clients and residents, they tend to hesitate. Care needs to return to the essentials. Entering into a relationship in which you find out what people need – and sometimes what you need yourself (laughs). You can then use that insight in conjunction with the Pyxicare output to produce a good, clear, care plan, respond to the demand for care and meet the wishes of your clients and residents. That’s why the system is so successful.'