“In the right place at the right time” - Care steps to services
The recently concluded project Kehitysvammaisten hoitopolut Uudellamaalla (Care paths for persons with intellectual disabilities in Uusimaa) explored different ways of implementing health services for persons with intellectual disabilities and harmonising care and service chains in the Uusimaa region. The idea was summed up as: the right level of care at the right time for the right patients in the entire Uusimaa region.
Locating the most relevant points from the customers’ point of view is vitally important when exploring the care paths of persons with intellectual disabilities. These are the crossroads where organisations and employees have a major responsibility to guide the customers to the right care path.
Some of the leading ideas of the project have been dividing care between basic health care and specialised health care, as well as the principle of normality in the organisation of services as far as and to the extent that it is possible and reasonable. In order to enable the division of care, the first step, or the basic level, must be functional and professionals must be able to agree on the division of labour and internal coordination both within the health care unit and between different units. What is the concept or the attitude that we need to develop in order to achieve better cooperation between various professionals so that the customer remains at the heart of the matter at all times? How can we make sure that individuals with intellectual disabilities are provided with equal, but not impersonal, services catered to suit their needs?
The care steps describe not only the division of labour and responsibilities between various actors, but also cooperation. In order for this cooperation to be successful, a concept, or ramp, including both traction and glide must be built alongside the steps. Needs vary according to situation. The steps have to be smooth and stable, but sometimes we need flexible and agile work that is meaningful to the customer. The final report on the project has now been completed (only in Finnish)