At De Twentse Zorgcentra in the east of the Netherlands, people with intellectual and/or multiple disabilities live, work and relax in beautiful environments while receiving professional support. Annamiek van Dalen, board member of De Twentse Zorgcentra, says: “The last few years have been dominated by the pandemic and our clients have had a tough time. Their loved ones as well as our staff have found circumstances difficult too.”

Annamiek states: “The situation has been reflected in our results as additional COVID-related investments and a limited intake of new clients left their mark. We also had to discontinue daytime activities or at least adjust formats. Fortunately, Accezz International had already helped us improve how we manage our residential groups and activities.”

During this period, it was important for the organisation to maintain a clear results-oriented focus. Annemiek continues: “That is one of our strategic priorities and we have continued to monitor results regardless of the challenges. We wanted to uphold a high standard of care within a shifting financial climate, while prioritising a safe and healthy living and working environment for clients and employees. Our goal was to overcome certain fixed patterns and Accezz brought the expertise that helped us move forward.”

Facing a great challenge together
Accezz offered a comprehensive analysis of the organisation’s needs and challenges as well as potential opportunities. Annamiek says the feedback sessions had a fun dynamic and highlighted work processes, bottlenecks and areas for improvement: “The sessions were filled with valuable insights and explored some recognisable situations. We were facing a great challenge together!”

The project started in Losser, near Enschede. Annamiek notes that as soon as everyone could see how successful the initial implementation was, management commit- ted to rolling out the Accezz programme in every region. “Before Accezz came along, each region had its own way of working. Now, we all speak the same professional language, gaining insight into what works and sometimes into what doesn’t.”

Annamiek smiles and says: “That’s positive too. You need to know what is wrong before you can fix it. The regions now efficiently plan and manage their hours. In the residential groups, for example, the care teams’ schedules are better aligned with the demand for care and the available budget. Freed-up time is now partially allocated to improve quality of care. In the past, discussions often concerned time management or the need for additional staff. We now look more closely at clients’ specific needs and manage schedules accordingly.”

A better living environment for clients
During an improvement programme, Accezz invites employees to offer daily input on how an organisation and its procedures can be improved. Christa ten Hakel, a team coach for complex care at De Twentse Zorgcentra, says: “Accezz helped us analyse work processes, opening our eyes to challenges and opportunities. We started to see things that had previously been overlooked and began to rethink our approach and the quality of care we provided.”

Christa explains: “Although you are aware that things can be improved, you tend to just get on with your work. How- ever, we soon realised you can often solve issues yourself. Even within complex care, much can be achieved. It’s fantastic working with behavioural specialists to develop a more pleasant living environment for individual clients and still cater to the general needs of all residents. And this while staying within the financial framework. It makes the work much more fun and interesting.”

Daytime activities – more possibilities
In addition to the residential groups, De Twentse Zorgcentra also offers a wide range of daytime activities. Positive results were achieved here too. “The day activity programme at our De Finesse location has become a great success”, says team support manager Louise Bijenhof.

Louise shares that the activities are now better suited to clients’ individual requirements and are more cost-effective: “Accezz helped us properly arrange group sizes. And by placing clients together who require similar stimulation and have comparable needs, our groups are now more suitably structured. Today, we have three instead of four groups.” This means the same work is now carried out with fewer employees. “However, we created the role of all star backup, a staff member who is in charge of offering experience-oriented activities outside the basic groups”, says Louise. “This affords the opportunity to organise a broader range of activities while freeing up space within the groups. We have clients who need more care and nursing than others.”

Then there are those who require additional sensory stimulation or creative daytime activities. Louise explains: “Working together with our personal care aides and the entire team, we assessed clients to see which group would best serve their needs. We do this with new clients too. By involving the team this way, we create a stronger sense of unity and reduce resistance to change.”

Big wheels keep on turning
When a programme of this scale has finished, it is important to keep investing in securing the outcomes so that improvements become embedded. Annamiek says: “The environment does not stand still. Hiccups can occur within any organisation, which means we might need to stop and return to the start and adapt, evolve and improve. Keeping the wheels turning is a team effort. Fortunately, certain staff members are able to safeguard the Accezz approach.”

During the project, coordinators were appointed and trained in the Accezz method to support their colleagues. Joyce Meijer is one such coordinator: “By following the Accezz route map from analysis, observation, development, implementation and all the way through to the follow-ups, it is possible to create and reinforce a clear view of opportunities and results together.”

Annamiek concludes: “We have worked through the Accezz method as a team and have taken ownership. It has also been refined to suit us as an organisation and perfectly align with our aim to remain focused on achieving results while improving the living and working environment.”

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Annamiek van Dalen

Board member of De Twentse Zorgcentra

"We have worked through the Accezz method as a team and have taken ownership. It has also been refined to suit us as an organisation and perfectly align with our aim to remain focused on achieving results."

Change to improve

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