It’s important that optimising home care commences with strategic optimisation. It creates a still picture of what a month in home care is like. It includes the customers’ per order realised service times, timeframes and skill requirement. Time spent on work, including preparation, breaks and documentation, is taken into account, too, as well as time spent on travel. This still picture is used to optimise the constitution of the team and working times for planning shifts.
The transition from a still to a moving picture is achieved by updating the order data. Customers and orders have changed, of course, but optimisation takes this into account. The routes taken by employees and the number of employees heading out to do field work are different than before. Since optimisation has taken all necessary data into account, new routes are implementable as they are. Customers receive the service at the time defined by case management and employees have sufficient time for customers, travel and office work.
The first thought that usually comes to mind regarding optimisation is that it will make home care even more hectic than before, with minutes being shaved off here and there. The reality is, based on feedback from employees, too, that it actually calms down the pace of the work.
The nature of the services required by home care customers is in a constant state of change. This is why operative optimisation is necessary, too. The list from last Tuesday may not be current this Tuesday.
Poor route planning will result in the home care worker having to hurry at some point of his or her route. Or all the time. There’s more time allocated to the service than the timeframes or transitions allow. This is especially prevalent in duty lists where the care provider has to venture outside his or her regular territory. Without an all-encompassing plan to work by, home care workers will tend to hurry – just in case.
On R2 optimised routes the care worker can confidently spend the amount of time stipulated by the service plan with the customer, without having to worry about the order in which to see customers, transitions or opportunities for breaks. Then the prioritisation of service times and timeframes is where it belongs – with case management instead of out in the field.