Transforming Integrated Care in the Community: Introducing the Ashford South Neighbourhood Care Team

The What, The How & The Why

Transforming Integrated Care in the Community. The What, The How and the why. Written by Sian Dellaway

Have you heard about the Transforming Integrated Care in the Community project? You may have over the last year as Kent and Medway have been working together to bring Buurtzorg to Kent and Medway. Kent County Council have formed their first Buurtzorg inspired team known as the Ashford South Neighbourhood Care Team.

The What: What is the Ashford South Neighbourhood Care Team?

The Ashford South Neighbourhood Care Team has been set up under the Transforming Integrated Care in the Community (TICC) project. The team is a social care led team working to the principles of Buurtzorg. This means the team are self-managing they do not have a manager and are instead supported by a Coach and responsible for making their own decisions as a team. The team is a mixture of Occupational Therapists, Enablement Support Workers and Care workers, each team member is seen as equal and there is no hierarchy.

The team first started on 1st July 2019 with three members and since then has grown to a team of six. Over the coming weeks we are expecting the team to expand further as we work towards having a team of ten in place. Working in the Buurtzorg way is completely new to Kent, and you may be wondering how have this team become self-managing, was this an instant process? In the next section we look at how the team has developed and been supported to work in this way.

Interreg 2 Seas Mers Zeeen TICC European Regional Development Fund

The How: How are the Ashford South Neighbourhood Care Team Become a Self-Managing Team?

How have we formed a self-managing team? The answer is it has been a gradual supportive process with lots of training! When the first team members began back in July they were given a structured induction that included all the mandatory and statutory training they require as care professionals and training sessions with Public World to learn about the Buurtzorg model and the way of working they will be adopting. The teams have also been in contact with Buurtzorg teams working in the Netherlands and have also received training from Buurtzorg Nurses and Buurtzorg Coaches.

The Ashford South Neighbourhood Care Team have a small support network around them, this network provides support in relation to a range of activities such as recruitment, ordering supplies and ICT support. There is a good partnership between the team and the support network and both work closely together, for example in relation to recruitment the team are responsible for making the final decision as to who they hire and the support network will carry out and monitor the background processes. As the team has grown and become more familiar with the model they have taken on more responsibilities and decision making.

The Why: Why are we looking at the Buurtzorg model and self-managing teams?

Across Kent and Medway we are looking at the Buurtzorg model as part of the Transforming Integrated Care in the Community (TICC) project. We are working in partnership with Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust and Medway Community Healthcare to see how this model can be applied from the Netherlands to the UK context for both health and social care. The Buurtzorg model has been extremely successful in the Netherlands and has high staff satisfaction rates, high client satisfaction rates and has generated savings of 40 per cent to the Dutch healthcare system.

We have set Buurtzorg inspired teams up across Kent and Medway to see the impact the model has on the organisations, staff, outcomes for clients and their informal carers. We have a vision to implement a new community care model that is guided by the principles to Buurtzorg as we seek to find solutions to some of the clinical, social and financial challenges associated with an ageing population, budget and workforce challenges which we hope to explore through these new teams.

We have come to the end of this month’s blog but that doesn’t mean this has to be the last update, you can stay up to date on the progress of the Transforming Integrated Care in the Community project by signing up our quarterly project newsletter here. If you would like more information about the TICC project and the Buurtzorg model take a look at our webpage.

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