Fixing home care orientation

Published: 15.3.2022 6.10Updated: 15.3.2022 7.43
Puzzle including home care orientatios themes.
All new employees participate in orientation lectures during their first weeks of work, which cover things like the range of tasks in home care, occupational safety and harmonised client records.

In recent years, Espoo’s Home Care department has put a great deal of effort into strengthening the expertise of home care personnel. An area that has received particular attention is the orientation of new employees.

Work at the Home Care department is responsible, challenging and independent, taking place as it does in clients’ homes.  The work also provides home care employees with opportunities to utilise their personal competence during every client visit.

Orientation ensures a smooth start for new employees

Well-planned and effectively implemented orientation ensures that new employees can start their jobs safely and smoothly. This is paramount for an organisation like Espoo’s Home Care department, which currently employs approximately 500 care work professionals and has dozens of new employees starting work each year.  The department is divided into seven units, and in the past, employee orientation practices varied by unit.  Recently, a great deal of effort has been put into harmonising these practices. 

To this end, Espoo’s Home Care carried out a home care competence development project, in which the competence required in home care was explored in collaboration with nurses and practical nurses. “Our employees highlighted the orientation of new employees, the maintenance of competence and continuing education as the most important development areas in regard to home care competence,” says Project Manager Anna-Kaisa Nikkilä.

As of summer 2021, Home Care has had all new employees participate in orientation lectures during their first weeks of work, which cover things like the range of tasks in home care, occupational safety and harmonised client records. The lectures have been positively received by employees. For example, several employees who have worked in home care for several years have noted that they have never received this kind of orientation in their previous jobs.

“Harmonised orientation practices also make things easier for supervisors, freeing up time for face-to-face interaction with employees,” say home care instructors Daniela Bäckström and Laura Kunttu.

The lectures are just one part of the orientation of new employees, however. Each new employee is also assigned a mentor, meaning an experienced home care employee. For the first few weeks of work, new employees conduct client visits together with this experienced colleague.  The same orientation is also provided to summer substitutes and student trainees.

Monitoring your own competence

At the City of Espoo, we need every employee to be competent and committed, but each employee is also personally responsible for their own competence and learning.  That being said, you do not need to assess your own competence alone.

“We provide our employees with the tools and competence for working with clients. Competent personnel improves the effectiveness of home care work and provides clients with better services,” says Head of Home Care Heli Naukkarinen.         

One of the results of the home care competence development project was the creation of a competence card, which lists the various competence areas of home care. The competence card is divided into six themed areas, which are: recording client information and the smooth use of client systems, medication, safe home care, the clinical competence of a nurse and practical nurse in care work and other specialised competence and training.

“We encourage our employees to review their own competence and think about the areas where they need more education and training in. Writing down your skills helps you structure your own competence and also monitor its development,” Project Manager Anna-Kaisa Nikkilä describes.

Home Care provides elderly people with services that allow them to continue living safely at home despite reduced ability to function. Home Care offers support for everyday matters with which the elderly person or their loved ones can no longer cope.   Home Care employs approximately 500 care work professionals and has approximately 2,500 clients.

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