Living and Care Centre (WZC) St. Jozef is building a home with a heart

2016 – The Living and Care Centre (WZC) Sint Jozef has about 143 residents and is located in Neerpelt, Belgium. In Flandres Synergy’s Member Magazine, No. 5 of March 2016 an article is published about the organizational change in this Center. The full article is attached, it is summarized below. 

The workplace innovation

The changes at this Centre started about ten years ago when the staff formulated a new vision. They wanted to be ‘a home with a soul’ with the core values: expertise, listening to narratives, inspire and collaborate. They turned the house into 10 small units with a kitchen, for 14 to 16 residents and a multidisciplinary team caring for them. The team consisted of logistical staff, maintenance staff, caregivers and nurses. In 2015 they started a project ‘Organising differently’ together with Flandres Synergy and with an ESF grant. The first action in this project was the dismantling of the animation team and the animators and occupational therapists were also incorporated in the multidisciplinary teams. In the team there is no strict division of labour, everyone may do everything necessary for the care and treatment of the residents. The teams develop into self-organizing teams; they arrange their own schedules and take the initiative to do activities with residents. However there are managers leading the teams; they practice a coaching style of leadership and ensure coordination between departments. These managers are still training themselves in letting go of control and the employees still need to grow in giving feedback to each other. There are champions (sterrollen) who study a theme (such as dementia) and share that knowledge so that people learn together. 

Drivers and Approach
The driver was that the staff and the management created a shared vision on their duty. Which is, that it is not only important to care for the residents; it is also important to pay attention to their wishes, their dreams and their stories. For the management it was natural that the same treatment should apply to the staff. Because if they themselves work with inspiration they will inspire others.

They followed a stepwise approach. The change began with the joint development of a vision. Then the small-scale units were formed and the multidisciplinary teams were gradually made more complete. At the start of the project in 2015 a working group around the senior management was formed; an external consultant is involved. The self-organisation by the teams is also introduced gradually. The teams do make their own hours grid, but the coaching, the feedback and the  coordination with other teams are still done by a supervisor. The next step will be to integrate the administration, the intake of residents, the kitchen and the social services in the department teams. 


There has been a reduction in absenteeism and an improvement of the psychosocial well-being of the staff. Whether the quality of care is assessed better than before by residents and their family, has not been determined. Measuring this is in the plan for the project. 


Coppin, Lisa, ‘Innovatief organiseren. Woon- en zorgcentrum Sint-Jozef in Neerpelt bouwt aan een (t)huis met een ziel’. In:Ledenmagazine Flandres Synergy, No. 5 of March 2016, pp. 6 – 9. The full article is attached.