Why was Curess founded?
"In youth care, there are a lot of pain points; there are long waiting lists, insufficient staff, and the quality of care could often be better too. We started Curess in 2013 to show that things can be different. Instead of complaining about inconvenience and impossibility, try finding ways to make it work. We organize it differently and demonstrate that with current rates, you can indeed have happy staff, deliver quality care and build a strong organization. And most importantly, we show the market that we can succeed without waiting lists. In short, it can be done. It just requires a different mindset and management style."
What exactly is this different mindset and management style?
"In healthcare, a lot of thinking is based on budgets. Many organizations think, 'I have the budget for 8 FTEs, so I will hire 8 FTEs. ' And with that, you can fulfill about 40 care requests. But there are 80 care requests, so half end up on the waiting list. We think that's ridiculous. We look at the market through a more market-oriented lens. Market demand determines our size. So if there are 80 care requests from the market, we hire enough FTEs to ensure we can answer all the requests for help."
"We are also continuously innovating to meet market demand. To that end, we are developing new products. For example, we introduced Intensive System Counselling in early 2020. We regularly see within families that there is such a high demand for care that an out-of-home placement is imminent. For this purpose, we have developed Intensive System Counseling. We offer a program where one or more social workers visit families at home for 10 to sometimes more than 30 hours a week. This is to prevent out-of-home placement."
"In October 2020, we will introduce Joint Parenting. This a module specifically designed for parents in a high-conflict divorce where the children suffer. By continuously introducing new modules such as these, we also generate new demand. It seems that there is a significant demand for this."
"We demonstrate that with the current rates, you can indeed have happy staff and deliver quality care."
You often hear in the news about a staff shortage in the care sector. How do you deal with that?
"To grow, we know we need new staff. That's why we ensure we get 2 to 3 new employees monthly. And that's honestly not that difficult. We are a good employer, and we show it. And this works; we have around 50 to 60 applicants every quarter. There's certainly some luck involved, but it also comes down to how we position ourselves. We made the deliberate choice to display work as a celebration."
"Paying attention to each other is important; employees should know and trust their manager. But certainly, vice versa, this should also be the case. Effective team meetings, among other things, can achieve this. In addition, effective training is essential. For example, we organize the Curess Congress four times a year. And last but not least, we regularly organize fun activities. Think of an After Summer Party, a BBQ, or joining the local running race for charity. Everything is aimed at connecting one another. These relatively easy activities generate a lot of effort and simply don't happen at other organizations. So that's where we make a difference."
I can also clearly see your viewpoint, 'Together, side by side', in this aspect. So this is more than just applicable to clients?
"Definitely, we stand side by side with the clients. We work together with the client. And then it doesn't matter whether the client is the father, the mother or the child. We stand beside them, become part of the family and don't judge."
"But this also applies to our colleagues; we stand side by side with one another. For example, if a colleague drives home at 11.30 pm on Saturday after a complex home visit and is troubled by it and wants to talk to someone about it, that's possible because someone is always available. That's also vital, taking care of each other."
"We had all our processes recorded on paper in a folder. Every employee could access this, but in practice, that just doesn't work well."
Can you tell me what quality means to Curess?
"Quality means a few things to us. Fundamentally, it is visible in the quality of care. We have to provide good care and demonstrate we do so. We have a system for that: Ons by Nedap. It contains our entire client file, including the entire care process. And through that system, staff get notified when they are needed."
"In addition, we are now working on measuring the quality of care. That is quite challenging because how do you turn something inherently subjective into something objective? For this, we have been ISO 9001 certified since 2018. But it is crucial to consider how to make it accessible to employees. That's why we started with Scienta. We had everything recorded on paper in a folder. Every employee could access this, but in practice, that just doesn't work well. Most employees see the folder when first oriented and then never look at it again. So now we integrate our work processes in Scienta. That, too, is something I consider quality. That people are not only aware of the processes but that they are also automated. When a form is filled out, it automatically gets to the right people; that way, you avoid mistakes."
"For me, quality is also the relationship with people. Being sincere with each other and having a good and honest conversation."
"Finally, for me, quality is also the relationship with people. Being sincere with each other and having a good and honest conversation. Then you can trust and take each other seriously. It is important to honor agreements made with one another. Whether that is internally, towards clients, or towards people from outside whom we make agreements with, we think it is important that everyone sticks to the agreements made. Only then can you deliver quality."