Buurtzorg domestic care services
Buurtdiensten (Neighbourhood Services) are small teams providing all types of domestic help at home including, shopping, cleaning and meal preparation – not personal care. In the Netherlands older people are entitled to 1.5 hours a week of domestic care.
Every client is assigned one carer and they respond to what is needed, how a client manages themselves and their home and social environment. Together with the client, the carer designs solutions pulling in support from around Buurtzorg’s onion model. Buurtdiensten carers look deeply at what is important to a client, their environment and can recommend activities or support in the area as well as work with other providers on how they can jointly support the client.
Small self-organising Buurtdiensten teams (of up to 12 team members) are supported by regional managers. Teams do not have an office but meet regularly in one another’s homes to plan and discuss issues. There is close communication between Buurtdiensten and Buurtzorg Nursing teams around individual client needs and concerns.
In late November 2015 Jos de Blok, Buurtzorg founder, agreed to take over a failing Dutch company (TSN) that provided domestic home help services. Thousands of former employees are now working at the ‘Buurtzorg-way’;
The newly acquired organisation will operate under the name of Familiehulp before it is merged with Buurtzorg’s regular domestic care services.
Up until the last moment of the take-over, it was unclear how many employees or which localities would form Familiehulp. There was no merger plan, blueprint or organizational chart. Several regional coordinators were appointed to assist the new employees in finding their way in the new organisation. Large numbers of employees were involved and the former organisation had to work with a completely different culture and value system.
In addition the former employees had to adjust to the process of Buurtzorg in a practical sense. Buurtzorg has easy systems online, for registering hours and distance for example, but some had no experience or little confidence with computers.
Early indicators look good for the new teams.
De Jong a former Director nurse at TSN and now a Familiehulp regional coordinator reflects on the Familiehulp:
“It requires a certain motivation and plenty of enthusiasm. If you’d rather just make your hours and you feel more comfortable with a leadership above you, this way of working may not be appropriate for you. I am a regional coordinator, I’m certainly not superior. I advise and support fourteen teams, they plan their own work, I get as close as I can. Sometimes I stay with the a while, but the intention is that I increasingly release them.”
Ria Dimmendaal is a team member in Familiehulp, pleased with the new way of working;
“Yes, it’s a lot better, such a way of working pleases me. It keeps activity focused and saves costs. It took some getting used to, with all the differences in character, mentality and outlook on the work. You must really want to be here for the clients, but also for each other, for your colleagues. Meanwhile, we discuss all kinds of things openly as a team, even mistakes.”
Based on an article in Dutch magazine, Management Site Aug 2016 (Title translated) A self-directed reorganization? Does that exist? Home help workers TSN now in self-managing teams Familiehulp
In 2020 the two services (Familiehulp and Buurtdiensten) were merged to form one national Buurtdiensten service.
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