Using Lean to Improve Elderly Care in Norway

The Borough of Vestre Toten in Norway, initiated a lean transformation back in 2011 to tackle the out-of-control costs and deficit. The transformation began in the elderly care centers, which were offering an increasing number of services with little extra funding.

Some examples of how Lean Thinking is applied at the borough’s home care service:

  • The first evaluation is carried out at home with the care receiver – right at the Gemba.
  • The team involves the patient in the planning process and in setting targets for the outcome of the care.
  • The standardized processes allow for flexibility and individual adjustments to ensure that each patient’s unique situation is taken into account.
  • They use team boards to follow the progress of each patient individually, which allows them to adjust their approach for future cases.

Implementing Lean practices helped with standardizing work procedures with a focus on quality and predictability for the patients, as well as the following results:

  • The teams have a better structure to support their work
  • Patients see fewer nurses than before
  • People can live longer at home when the emphasis is on their needs
  • The employee teams’ skills set has become much stronger, which has led to better quality services.
  • The job of home nurses has become more interesting as they can now carry out procedures at home that were previously considered possible only in hospital.

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