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Laitila prepares for the future - An industrial revolution is happening in homecare

Tue 21 Sep 2021 03:52:00 PM EEST

Laitila prepares for the future

An industrial revolution is happening in homecare

“Local government is – or at least should be – thinking hard about ways of using technology to replace manual labour,” says Laitila Director of Social Affairs and Health, Jussi Mattila.

“Local authorities cannot afford to procrastinate over this, and should have the courage to consider solutions that will facilitate the work of their staff,” he continues. “Results have been excellent since Laitila became the first local authority in Southwest Finland to deploy the Evondos service a few years ago.”

Jussi Mattila cites the following reasons for acquiring the Evondos service:

  • Safety of pharmacotherapy. Laitila sought to minimise the risk of medicine dispensing errors.
  • Time for work with patients. There is more time for care work and getting to know the client when the homecare service spends less time dispensing medicines.
  • A pioneering approach. Laitila is keen to gain experiences of technology and other ways of relieving the workload of homecare staff.

“Health technology is the future. The more quickly solutions become familiar to care staff and their clients, the easier it will become to expand the use of technology in future years. Reforms are not something that we should merely wait for, but something that we should implement. We have to move forward.”

“Comments have been favourable. After ironing out initial problems, both homecare staff and clients have appreciated the service. The only negative feedback came from clients who travel a great deal and have encountered difficulties in taking the device on journeys. Even this problem was resolved by introducing a special travelling mode for the medicine-dispensing robot.”

The travelling mode enables a client to withdraw multiple medicine doses from the robot before travelling.

Jussi Mattila, Director of Social Affairs and Health, Laitila

Nurses should interact with their clients

“Care work involves too many duties that could be done by a machine. A nurse should be focusing on interacting with the client,” says Mari Pilpola, a nurse at the Laitila Homecare Services Department.

Laitila in Southwest Finland has been using Evondos medicine dispensing for nearly two years, and has been highly satisfied with the service. A clear improvement in vigour has been observed, especially in clients with Parkinson’s disease.

The Evondos service in Laitila targets homecare clients for whom medicines are a key component of care, who are favorably disposed to care, and whose autonomy is boosted by the service.

“The service is ideal when regularity is important in client pharmacotherapy. We have noticed a clear enhancement of vigour in such cases, with fewer security phone alarms or panicky calls to caregivers,” she explains.

“Our service deployment process was really smooth, with no problems at all for care staff or clients.”

Mari Pilpola explains that nurses were initially worried about maintaining their own medication expertise.

“But we soon realized that these fears were misplaced. The details of a medicine are readily checked using QR codes on the medicine chart supplied with the dose sachets. This actually makes everything easier.”

“Work is evolving, including nursing work. Technology is facilitating the work of nurses, leading us to consider aspects of what we do and to adopt new roles and practices. Instead of focusing on dispensing medicines, the emphasis is shifting to interacting with the client. I think this is a great improvement.”

Mari Pilpola gives the example of a client who needed quick visits to administer medicines during the morning peak period. This has now become a fortnightly visit to restock the medicine-dispensing robot, with an opportunity for the nurse to supervise chair exercises, enquire about the client’s general condition, and focus properly on the client’s needs.

“People are supposed to interact with others. This is always the principal element of nursing work,” Mari Pilpola stresses. “Technology makes interaction possible.”

Mari Pilpola, nurse, Laitila Homecare Services Department

“I’m already sleeping”

Laitila resident Tuire Lauren had often already settled down for the night before care staff called to administer her evening medication. Nowadays this medication is provided promptly and regularly from an Evondos medicine-dispensing robot, and she is very pleased with the outcome.

“I award a perfect ten or even a ten-plus to this machine, and I would never give it up. I like always getting my medicines on time and without the assistance of a nurse.”

Lauren takes her medication independently five times daily from the Evondos robot, with regular visits from the homecare service to administer Marevan anticoagulants.

“I am very happy with the present arrangements. I like these nurses, but is there any point in having them drop in every few hours to give me tablets that I could just take from the machine without their help?” she asks.

“You just have to take the medicines when the machine says that it’s time to take them.”

A prize for the inventor

Life has been good with the Evondos robot, which is reliable and user-friendly.

“I would award a prize to the inventor for developing such a fine machine.”

“When I first got the device they told me that it was only on a trial basis in Laitila, but fortunately they soon announced that I would be keeping it permanently. There’s no way I’m giving it up now,” Tuire Lauren insists.

Evondos user Tuire Lauren