Care Centre Sint-Carolus

2016 – WZC St. Carolus in Kortrijk, Belgium provides care and guided living to semi-disabled and care dependent elderly in about 100 housing units. In January 2013 the Centre started an ESF project: “people-oriented business”.
An article about this project was published in the magazine of Flandres Synergy. The full text is  attached and a summary is presented below.

Workplace innovation
The ESF project has led to a new mission and vision and a transformation of the organisation. The vision is ‘resident-oriented work’ with comprehensive care giving by multidisciplinary teams that bear full responsibility for a group of residents. The jobs were enlarged considerably; for example in addition to providing care now nurses and caregivers also spend a part of their time on giving occupational therapy in the living room.
There are ‘reference persons’ each bearing organization-wide responsibility for a particular domain, formerly a management task. They are assisted by officials designated at team level: ‘sterrolhouders’. In cross-functional working groups employees discuss improvements and reflect on care ethics or organisational issues. New employees and residents are challenged to look with fresh eyes at the organisation and the care and to give feedback. There is a ‘yes’ culture’. 


Three years ago the Centre concluded that it was caught in a negative spiral. A rising demand for healthcare, combined with fewer and fewer resources, were risks for good care and the quality of the work. Computerization, digitization, working with protocols and the quality management model EFQM caused that employees tightly clung to day-structures no matter what the residents needs were. Thus the gap between the organisation and residents increased.
The arrival of a new director and the start of an ESF project put in motion the changes. 

Implementation approach
The project consisted of three subprojects which made that change could ‘seep in’ slowly but surely. In the first subproject teams of employees went to an outdoor training to improve the team spirit, in working hours. During these sessions, the values, goals and manners of the team were discussed and the team tasks were divided.
The second sub-project involved the training of new colleagues. New employees are carefully incorporated and coached during a considerable period of time. The third sub-project was a training for managers in coaching and giving feedback. 

The FS article does not outline results for the organisation or for the quality of the work. 

Lessons learned

The article quoted the Director; she says, “Keep believing in the power of your people!" Other lessons are: “Working together as a complete team is crucial" and “When your organisation chooses to go through change, you have to give people time and space to let the ideas come in and evolve."
The importance of expressing vision and listening to employees is stressed because “If they feel that management is listening to them, they will share their doubts, questions and uncertainties and then something can be done." 


Goorts, Kaat. ‘Praten met de bewoners is ook werken!’ In: Magazine: FS Inspireert, GePROJECTeerd, pp.10 – 13. (see attachement).