BUURTZORG NEIGHBORHOOD NURSING
Humanity over Bureaucracy
Buurtzorg is a pioneering healthcare organisation established 10 years ago with a nurse-led model of holistic care that has revolutionised community care in the Netherlands.
Client satisfaction rates are the highest of any healthcare organisation. Staff commitment and contentedness is reflected in Buurtzorg’s title of Best Employer (4 out of the last 5 years). And impressive financial savings have been made. Ernst & Young documented savings of around 40 percent to the Dutch health care system, and a KPMG Case Study in 2012 found:
“Essentially, the program empowers nurses (rather than nursing assistants or cleaners) to deliver all the care that patient’s need. And while this has meant higher costs per hour, the results have been fewer hours in total. Indeed, by changing the model of care, Buurtzorg has accomplished a 50 percent reduction in hours of care, improved quality of care and raised work satisfaction for employees.”
Buurtzorg scaled very quickly across the Netherlands from 1 to 850 teams, in just 10 years. During this time Buurtzorg grew in other areas of care such as mental health, children and families and also supported other Dutch international care organisations to take on the Buurtzorg model of care.
Buurtzorg Nederland was founded in 2006 by Jos de Blok and a small team of professional nurses who realised that years of ‘reform’ had undermined their relationships with patients. The very vocational commitment that had brought them into the profession in the first place was compromised. Jos de Blok and the three other nurses had a better idea. They set up Buurtzorg to look after people at home, in a way their values and craft demanded.
Jos and his three colleagues wanted to simplify the health care system. And demonstrate a patient–centred way of working would see the hours of care delivered reduced, if the focus was on helping clients with self-support and independence.
“I believe in client-centered care, with nursing that is independent and collaborative” said Jos de Blok, Director and CEO, Buurtzorg Nederland, “The community-based nurse should have a central role – after all they know best how they can support specific circumstances for the client.”
Buurtzorg’s empowering approach for nurses and clients proved popular with both; and as client demand grew, new Buurtzorg teams were established. In 10 years there are over 10,000 nurses, in 850 teams in towns and villages all over Holland. In 2016 Buurtzorg is also active in 24 countries.