So what is the Buurtzorg model?
Chances are, if you are in the aged care or disability serve industry, you would have heard about this.
The word is from the Dutch language and is made from two words combined. Buurt – meaning neighbourhood and Zorg – meaning care. Together they are interpreted as Neighbourhood Care.
The model concept delivers high quality care at reduced costs. The model essentially is a carer-led model where empowerment is provided by making the most of the clients’ existing capabilities, resources and environment and emphasising self management. The model is highly geared around self support and highly skilled and qualified care workers.
While this may mean higher costs per hour for labour, the result can be fewer hours in total. By changing the model of care, it has been shown that Buurtzorg, the originating organisation, has accomplished a 50 percent reduction in hours of care, improved quality of care and raised work satisfaction for staff.
The challenge for Australia comes about from the typical form of low-skill, low cost staffing models and by demonstrating how a high-skill professional model can deliver greater efficiency. Australia’s typical staffing models have been dominating disability, health and aged care systems for many years. What to overcome locally is to understand how overseas high-skill professional models can deliver greater overall efficiency and have that applied in Australia.
Care workers are supported by a simple but systematic approach by the organisation with easy to use IT technology to facilitate “real time” information that is directly connected to the care process and reduces any administrative overheads.
Self-managing teams have professional freedom with responsibility. A team of 12 can work in a “Buurt or “neighbourhood”, taking care of people needing support as well managing the team’s work. A new team will find its own office in the neighbourhood, spend time introducing themselves to the local community and getting to know therapists and other professionals. The team decide how they organise the work, share responsibilities and make decisions.
Buurtzorg teams are entrepreneurial in spirit, continually improving the organisation and services. All of Buurtzorg innovations come from one person or a team having an idea and the freedom to try something new.