ED+: A system built to fit the users’ needs
The municipality of Gladsaxe had been using Symmetrics ED+ platform for about six months, when we met Early Detection Consultant Dorthe Melchiorsen to discuss effects of ED+ on the Home Care Department’s work with early detection. Even after the relatively short period, a number of changes in their daily work are clearly noticeable, particularly a more systematic way to register changes in the citizens’ health state and interdisciplinary discussions of observations.
When Gladsaxe municipality decided to step up their efforts for early detection of health problems and functional decline in elderly citizens, they chose Symmetrics ED+ platform. Essential to the decision was the system’s flexibility and user-friendly interface: a system that all employees can use, without any need for specific IT skills or costly additional courses.
Practical peer training
Taking a new system in use changes both the workflow and the very way of thinking in the organization, which can be a big challenge. The new work culture must be trained so that it becomes part of everyday life. It requires sustained focus on the new workflow in the early implementation phase and the changes it brings. Gladsaxe Home Care Department chose to use practical peer training. An experienced Early Detection consultant follows all care workers on their first assignment using the ED+ app and provides practical guidance and feedback. . In addition, a number of “superusers” have been assigned a pivotal role in keeping ED+ on track – for instance by ensuring that the ED+ boards are switched on and acting as advisers on a practical level.
A system that makes sense for everybody
It seems almost a law of nature that new IT systems are met with a certain resistance by the employees who are supposed to use it. But on the whole, the care workers in Gladsaxe Home Care welcomed ED+ with an open and positive mind. Dorthe explains: “ED+ makes sense, because it supports many of the care workers’ daily tasks. It is a system that very directly relates to the work they do. It gives them a simple way to record their observations. And it allows for here-and-now reporting. Once the change is registered in the app, the care worker doesn’t need to think about it anymore – it gets flagged automatically on the next triage meeting”.
The care workers are especially satisfied with the Change Chart, which is a basic tool in their work day. The tool is easy and accessible. Simple questions and simple ways to answer. Everything they need is in the app, there is no need for documentation elsewhere.
Well-structured triage meetings where everybody gets their say
With the implementation of ED+, Gladsaxe Home Care Department went back to a meeting culture that brings together every profession involved in home care: nurses, social and health care assistants and helpers, physiotherapists and ergo-therapists. And it makes perfect sense.
The triage has led to a more focused meeting structure. Previously a lot of time was spent discussing citizens with whom the care workers, for one reason or another, had a difficult interaction. Now that the basis for the triage meetings are the changes registered in ED+ app, focus stays on the citizens in need of special attention. The increased attention to changes also means that more people can make their voices heard at the meetings, and that the various professions are weighted more equally.
Social and health care helpers, who are the largest employee group in Gladsaxe’s Home Care Department, have a greater voice than before. Their observations form the basis for action plans. Their feedback is dealt with systematically, and there is a more consistent follow-up on the action plans being initiated at the triage meeting. This is a positive development that all professional groups benefit from.
Customization that doesn’t cost a fortune
Gladsaxe municipality has nutrition and fall as targeted areas and required their system specifically tailored to support this. All elderly citizens receive twice a year an offer to be screened. Citizens receiving home care are additionally screened when they enter the system. The nutrition and fall consultants have expressed great satisfaction with Symmetrics customization, which among other things allows for comments in the app. The plan is that social and health care helpers also should use the tool in their work in the not so distant future.
Symmetrics focus on creating flexible tools, adaptable to customers’ requirements, has meant a lot for Gladsaxe municipality. “I think it has been excellent that you were so receptive to our wishes”, says Dorthe. “It was great to discover that customization does not necessarily have to cost a fortune. Small things can make a huge difference”.