It may sound all too familiar. You are working from home and just as you sit down at your laptop with a cup of coffee, you make the mistake of looking beyond your screen and around the room. Toys everywhere, a pair of muddy shoes, a lunch box with a brown, half-eaten apple, last night’s wine glasses and that bag from work which you put down the day before yesterday. You can’t concentrate and begin to tidy up. And while you’re at it, the worktop could do with a wipe too. One thing leads to another and by 4.30 pm you may not have done much work, but your house is clean as a whistle. However, the cleaner is coming tomorrow. It’s too late to cancel. That’s a pity as the cleaner is doubly expensive now you’ve used your own precious time to clean the house.
Who fetches the client?
Does the above only happen at home? Of course not! It can be the same in the healthcare sector too. Expensive practitioners often spend time doing tasks that could be carried out by other members of staff. And that time is particularly valuable in a period of staff shortages.
The above was the scenario within the Liberein elderly care organisation in Enschede. “After a merger, our treatment capacity was too high at one location and too low at another,” explains board member Elo Gramsbergen. “There was sufficient capacity, but the distribution was wrong. And the two centres were also used to working in different ways.” He adds, “We then had three options: impose a new system from above, hire expensive consultants who just throw a plan over the wall or bring in Accezz. Well, we really only had one option. Accezz helped our staff helping themselves. That’s why Accezz works.”
One of the things Accezz noticed was that physiotherapists were using part of their time to fetch clients who use wheelchairs. “And that meant they were devoting less time to actual treatment,” says Elo. “By devising a different way of assigning tasks, also known as ‘job carving’, and having less specialised staff bring in the clients, physiotherapists now have more time for what they are supposed to be doing.”
The real winner is the client
Why did Liberein decide to hire Accezz for an efficiency programme?
According to Elo, “Accezz works because its consultants speak not only the language of healthcare but also the language of the different treatment disciplines. For us, ensuring that clients have a meaningful day is crucial. Accezz connects our goals and mission with its language and message to our people.”
Elo notes that Accezz encouraged various practitioners, such as occupational therapists, psychologists, physiotherapists and specialists in geriatric medicine, to think about ways of harmonising work processes so that services could be improved services for clients. “It involved working together to set new standards,”. he says. “That can be difficult, especially if it feels like concessions have to be made. However, Accezz had collected all the necessary details and information in the analysis phase. This certainly made things a lot easier because their analysis was watertight and that helped generate acceptance.”
Elo says there has also been an unexpected, but positive side-effect: “As practitioners knew they had to find solutions that did not just apply to their own location, we began to see more interaction between the sites. This has increased mutual understanding among staff across the organisation, which in turn has boosted work satisfaction.”
The Accezz method meant that for a period of four months a consultant was on site every day to supervise the process, something which Elo appreciates: “As the Accezz consultant was not a member of the team, he could remain objective and keep staff focused on the overall goal, while also addressing any sense of grievance among employees, which is not uncommon during such a process.”
In finishing, Elo says, “I can conclude without hesitation that our practitioners are pleased with the new developments, not least because now the process is over they can focus even more on their own discipline. But the real winner in all of this is, of course, not the therapist but the client.”