In a previous blog post I wrote about how a representative from the Finnish homecare workers’ union, SuPer, had asked how we had achieved the seemingly impossible with our homecare optimisation solution; More work was being done by fewer workers, with better quality, yet workers felt less rushed.
Following this, the union published a one-page article about Procomp in the March edition of their monthly magazine. In the article, they say that one of the reasons that there isn’t enough time to deliver quality care is that optimisation is not being used.
A union spokesperson commented (translated from Finnish):
“Union members contact me and tell that they are forced to compromise client time, because given travel times are unrealistic. For example, the planning system reserves 10 minutes travel time, but in reality it takes 15 minutes. The nurse will then be delayed all the time.”
“In the worst case, client visits in the system overlap one another and the travel time from one client to the next is not taken into account at all.”
“If the working day schedule is unrealistic, the nurse will work under constant pressure. The client will suffer by not receiving the care time specified in the care plan.”
They go on to say that the correct use of optimisation improves the working lives of care workers, as well as improving quality of care, noting that carers work better when their ethical load is reduced. Ethical load is reduced when schedules are achievable and carers don’t need to rush visits and make choices such as which visits to cut short or skip.
The director of homecare services in the municipality of Kaavi was interviewed and was positive about the results of Procomp optimisation: Staff utilisation had increased by almost 60%, yet carers were less rushed. Travel times are realistic, clients receive care according to their care plan, and breaks are planned in advance.
Procomp homecare expert, Jarno Väisänen was also interviewed and commented that homecare requires development in a number of municipalities. Referring to Strategic Optimisation, he said that “Merely optimising driving routes is usually not enough. The most important thing to consider is whether greater effectiveness can be achieved by doing things differently.”
Procomp’s homecare optimisation software provides a solution for daily operational planning, but there are often structural and systemic issues which limit the potential for quality and efficiency. To overcome these issues changes are needed to the homecare organizational structure and ways of working, and can even extend to changes in policy or legislation. The question is, what changes to make? Strategic Optimisation allows informed decision to be made by realistically modelling alternative scenarios to show how things could be done. This approach is adapted from the logistics planning world, where it is routinely used to support decisions such as where to place depots, how to implement new services, as well as to identify ways to increase quality and efficiency.
The original article (in Finnish) can be found on page 23 of the March 2017 issue of the SuPer monthly magazine