Welfare technology offers citizens security and improved quality of life
The municipalities have implemented four welfare technologies in the period 2014-2016. An analysis of the roll-out shows that these welfare technologies make citizens more independent, allow for greater flexibility in the planning of working tasks and free up time for the day-to-day service delivery.
As part of the budget agreements for 2014, the Danish government and Local Government Denmark agreed to support the nationwide implementation of four welfare technologies. The main purpose was to help municipalities streamline their working procedures, create and ensure a higher level of quality for citizens and employees and finally to free up a minimum of DKK 500 million within the municipalities as a whole. The full impact from implementation is planned to 2017.
The four technologies
The four technologies that have been implemented in municipalities all over the country are: relocation technology (ceiling lifts) – from 2 to 1, washing toilets, assistive feeding device, and lastly more optimal use of currently existing aids and devices. Relocation technology – from 2 to 1 means that one social and health care assistant or home nurse is now sufficient for moving or relocating a citizen whereas two were needed before. Wash-and-dry toilets enable citizens to manage toilet visits by themselves without help from staff or relatives, offering better hygiene and health for the citizen. Assistive eating devices enable citizens with impaired arm and hand mobility to become more self-reliant when eating meals. Better use of assistive devices enables citizens to become more self-reliant, thereby reducing the need for care and practical assistance. This can postpone the time when the citizen needs home help and it can make certain citizens partially or totally independent of home care.
In connection with the agreement to roll out the four technologies, a programme was set up in 2014-2016 for diffusing welfare technology in Local Government Denmark, an organisation that has supported the implementation process in the municipalities. Between 2014 and 2016, 88 municipalities, corresponding to 95 per cent of the population, implemented the four initiatives.
Benefits from implementation
On completion of the roll-out programme in 2016, a final measurement was carried out of the effects of the implementation based on questionnaires completed by the municipalities. The measurement shows that the provision of welfare technologies has led to a series of qualitative benefits for citizens, employees and relatives. Citizens experience a greater sense of security, closeness, independence and a general improvement in their quality of life after the implementation of the four technologies. The implementation has also created a better physical working environment and strengthened the professionalism and skills development of employees, whilst more self-reliant citizens allows employees greater flexibility in their service delivery. In addition, the citizen’s relatives or spouse find themselves relieved of certain tasks, as the citizen is more able to manage, for example, toilet visits by themselves.
Besides the qualitative benefits for citizens and employees in municipalities, the participating municipalities have altogether documented sustained financial gains of DKK 521 million through implementing the four welfare technologies.