13 February 2019
The implementation of assistive living technology has created benefits for clients and staff.
A project from Hillerød Municipality in Denmark shows that the implementation of assistive living technology for moving and handling can improve the employees' work health and safety and at the same time increase the quality of care for clients.
The project explored how 7 different aids, including VENDLET, could streamline the employees' workflows, create better work health and safety and reduce work injuries, while at the same time increase the quality of care for the client. The results have now been implemented at the five care homes in the municipality.
Implementation of assistive living technology solutions was never intended to cut costs. Rather, it was meant to help ensure that the quality of care can be maintained in the future. This is emphasized by Maria Westh Bernburg, Physiotherapist and Area Manager in one of the care homes, who has been a part of the project: “The numbers tell us that, in the future, there will be fewer and fewer employees in the care sector but more and more clients over the age of 80. This means that we cannot just hire more employees to solve that task because there aren’t any. So, the goal of the project was more so to find a way to support the care given by our employees,” she says, and continues: “So this was not about saving money, but about finding technology that can increase efficiency."
The municipality's transfer policy, states that there must be two employees present in transfer situations unless otherwise described by a therapist.
"The concern was to improve the employees' workflows, because having to be two carers in transfer situations also means that you have to wait for a colleague," says Maria and continues "The project was not about cutting down on employees, but about finding out how technology can free up time for the relational and interpersonal care.”
Improving the quality of care for clients was also one of the purposes of the project. It sometimes happens that the relational care between client and caregivers is neglected when there are two caregivers performing a task. This is because the caregivers tend to rely on each other rather than focusing on the interpersonal contact with the client.
After the project, the clients experienced a clear improvement. The way the staff works with them is improved by the technology and there are also clear improvements in the relations between the citizen and the staff. This is because, it becomes easier to establish a personal connection when the caregiver and client are one on one.
"As part of the project, the employees have seen that implementing an assistive living aid that makes it possible to be one on one with the client, has meant tremendously much for the relationship between the caregivers and the people we are here for,” says Maria, who also emphasizes that the residents of the care home have been happy with the new aids.
In addition to the increased quality of care, the number of work injuries was also reduced dramatically. In fact, they have not yet had any work injuries related to moving and handling since implementing VENDLET: ”In January we talked about 2018 being the year without work injuries, and what we can see is that implementing some of this technology in transfer situations has meant that there are fewer injuries among the staff. And we haven't had one reported work injury on transfers this year,” says Maria.
Particularly related to moving and handling in bed the care home has seen great improvements: ”Where we used to push and pull we have seen a huge improvement in implementing technology,” says Maria. Furthermore, it has also been in transfers from the sitting position on the bed to the toilet, which has led to most improvements for the staff.
At the care home in Hillerød, they have been really happy with the new assistive living aids, including VENDLET. "The technologies that are easy to use from day one, that are intuitive, are also the ones that are in demand," Maria says. "What we can see, when it comes to VENDLET, is that the transfers aren’t so heavy and bothersome for the staff, but also that the clients get a smoother and gentler care," she says.
And the employees are also happy with the system: ”When it starts to be apparent that the client needs an aid, the staff often ask if they can have a VENDLET. It is easy to learn how to use it and it facilitates those heavy transfers we have during a work day,” says Maria and continues: “Many employees, once they have worked with VENDLET it is very often what they inquire on afterwards."
For future practices, the project will also carry significance. The care home must constantly evaluate and assess moving and handling situations to see if it is possible to go from two carers to one carer.
Technology Improves Quality of Care in Danish Municipality