Transforming home care in Finland? Part 3 – the pilot!

As I wrote earlier (Part 1, Part 2), we have been meeting with Finnish home care company CEOs for the past few months, with the purpose of introducing a non-hierarchical, patient-centered way of organizing developed by Buurtzorg in the Netherlands (for a Finnish intro, see this post). Out of the 10 companies we’ve met, most have been very positive about the model and see that it would clearly make sense also in Finland.

Many Finnish CEOs are now still on their journey towards implementing the model. Either they want to learn more (to which aim there is a project to bring the founder of Buurtzorg, Jos de Blok, to Finland & we are also trying to find time for a visit to the Netherlands), are waiting for the right time for their organization (e.g., for a new home care area to start, or another development project to conclude), or still have to do some thinking before they are ready to introduce the idea to the rest of the organization.

The fastest company to act on the opportunity has been Debora Oy, a family-owned home nursing company with ~300 nurses. On Friday, May 8th, I was helping in conducting a kick-off workshop for the nurses starting at their Lahti site. The municipality of Lahti has outsourced home care services in the Laune neighbourhood, and Debora has put in place a team of ~15 practical nurses (“lähihoitaja” in Finnish) and 3 full nurses (“sairaanhoitaja”), assisted by a part-time doctor.

Instead of using the typical model where the full nurses would be labelled managers and the practical nurses placed under their supervision, the operating model is a Buurtzorg-like setup with self-managing teams. The teams are responsible for excellent care of the patients, acceptable financial results and making sure they remain happy, motivated and productive. They will get the necessary visibility to financials and feedback as well as sufficient autonomy to enable them in making smart decisions.

The kick-off was a great success, with the nurses being very open about past experiences of working in hierarchies that suppressed creativity and motivation by encouraging nurses to focus on following the orders of superiors. The story of the Buurtzorg model resonated well, and the nurses where able to immediately start innovating ways of organizing the work and interacting with the customers that would be smarter and better for everyone.

I am excited about this pilot in Lahti, and will keep following it closely. Meanwhile, I hope to also work with other home care companies that would be excited to test the model in Finland!

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