Exploring creative approaches to the delivery of home support

Home health care is playing an increasingly critical role in the continuing care sector. Home care and home support enables seniors to age in place for longer, while providing them with the care they need to live as well as possible. It also supports families who are caring for the seniors in their lives by providing valuable respite. Yet with an increasing demand for publicly subsidized services, due to B.C.’s aging population, providers are seeking creative ways to provide the care that B.C. seniors need in an efficient and effective way.

One example of this is the approach to home support which is being led by Beacon Community Services in both James Bay and Sidney. Tasked with providing cluster care in these high-density neighbourhoods, Beacon was keen to explore how they might be able to provide care that increased worker consistency for their clients and what they landed upon was a model which not only appears to do that, according to preliminary research, but also increased worker satisfaction.

“This work began in May of 2016 with the implementation of our first pilot project in James Bay. Due to the success of our work there we went ahead and extended the program in 2017 to a second site in Sidney,” says Carin Plischke, Vice President for Home Support and Residential Care at Beacon Community Services.

Beacon’s model is referred to as a “Neighbourhood Model of Care” and goes beyond cluster care by enabling a small group of Community Health Workers who are supported by an LPN and a scheduler to consistently care for a small region of clients. At the start of each shift the workers will huddle together and plan their day. In doing so, Community Health Workers are given the opportunity to self-organize to plan and provide care that is more appropriate to the client’s needs. “They decide who goes where, does what and what the day will look like,” says Plischke.

This approach allows Beacon to handle short notice absenteeism without effecting continuity of care, which enables care to be more person centred, by ensuring that the relationship between the staff person and the person receiving care remains strong.

“One example of this is that if a client is suffering from a cold, for example, and is feeling anxious about being alone, the care worker can assess the situation as it relates to their other clients and might be able to check in more often than usual to reassure to the person receiving care,” says Plischke.

While in the early stages of implementation this model appears to have gone over incredibly well with staff. In fact, Beacon has noted increased job satisfaction, fewer missed visits and fewer sick days.

“While we are still in the process of evaluation it appears that this model increases job satisfaction through the empowerment of our staff,” says Plischke.
This is just one example of innovation occurring in the continuing care sector.

Do you have an innovative practice or approach that you would like other BC Care Provider Association members to know about? Share your successes and lessons learned by contacting Rebecca Morris at rebecca@bccare.ca