Improving elder care by video conferencing (DK)

Project partners Vejen Kommune's Elder Care organisation and regional hospitals in South Denmark Region

Contact data

Simon Simonsen
Vejen Kommune
tel. +45 79966103
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Keywords Information exchange, video communication, elder care, digital services, healthy ageing, hospital

Main problems to be solved (analysis) When citizens with treatment and aftercare needs are ready to be discharged and retrun from hospital to home or to a nursing home in the municipality, we usually have conversations and often meetings involving nurses from the eldery care organisation and doctors from the hospital to plan and ensure correct treatment and care for the citizen. Nurses and doctors are busy people and it is often difficult to plan these meetings. By using video conferencing we expect to have shorter meetings and can avoid spending time travelling (often up to 2 hours because of distance to hospitals).

In this pilot project we will establish video conferencing facilities in Vejen Kommune, and the specific pilot activity will be use of those facilities as an alternative to meetings between doctors at the regional hospitals and nurses from Vejen Kommune’s elderly care organization.

As mentioned it is often very difficult to plan a meeting for all relevant participants. Instead of cancelling the meeting, which unfortunately sometimes happens, it will be easier to plan the meeting as a short and focused video conference. Expected outcome will be better quality of treatment and care, reduction of costs and time and finally faster and better service for the citizens.

Policy frameworks to be dealt with/fitting in Elder Care service, cross sectoral co-operation between region, municipality and citizen about cure, care and rehabilitation

Aim of the project • To increase the number of “discharge-meetings” when introducing video conference facilities, which will ensure better quality of care for the citizen thanks to better communication between hospital and Elder Care Organisation • More cost effective process caused by reduction in man-hours spent for ordinary meetings and driving time • More possibilities for direct communication between experts at the hospital and local nurses and others on medical issues

(Expected) Results • Virtual meetings instead of physical meetings • More/all relevant persons can participate and don’t spend hours driving to meetings • Short virtual meetings are easier to plan and can be arranged very quickly • Easy to arrange more (virtual) meetings if necessary which means better quality of treatment and care and maybe reduction of costs for care • More citizens (and their relatives) can participate much easier in the meeting • Local health care personnel can easily get instructions from experts at the hospitals in certain treatments and procedures without spending time travelling.

(Expected) outcome within the WP WP3 is about wellbeing and services and it is obvious that use of video communication, as in this case, means better service and better well-being for citizens and many advantages for all involved. As in other cases video communication is a tool which can be useful in a lot of situations. We expect video communication to spread to all kinds of meetings because it has many benefits for everybody involved concerning time and travel.

Experience from this pilot activity will be exchanged with partners in the Vital Rural Area project. Knowledge about video communication and our fibre network in Vejen Kommune might be an important item to spread e.g. via the Rural Power Pack. Broadband networks based on fibre have a very high capacity with symmetric bandwidth for upload and download and such a network is very useful for video communication.

(Expected) outcome for the region as a whole (impact of the project; effects may be written in terms of the sustainability triangle = 3 P approach (people, planet, profit), i.e. benefits on the social, economical and physical part) The regional hospitals, the municipality (Vejen Kommune) – and not least the citizens will benefit from this pilot activity. Reduction of cost, better dialogue, co-operation and co-ordination of activity, advice from experts to local carers and better care and rehabilitation for the citizens. These expected results will of course be monitored, evaluated and used for learning in the eldery care organisation. Another benefit will be a reduction of transport, primarily by car, to meetings at hospitals; so video meetings are definitely more sustainable than physical meetings in this situation.

Planning The pilot project was supposed to start in 2011 but has been delayed because the hospitals were not ready. They were by June 2012 and testing activities started.

We had the first video meeting with the hospital at Esbjerg in November 2012 to plan care and aftercare when a citizen was to be discharged from hospital. The video meeting worked well and everybody involved were satisfied with the new routine.

Costs Approximately 250 man hours = ca. 10.000 € Equipment (hardware and software clients) for video communication: app. 4.000 €

Financing Man hours are registered and co-financed via the Vital Rural Area project. Equipment is fully financed by Vejen Kommune.

Implementation of the project (cf. CAA) Because the pilot project has been delayed it is not possible to answer these questions in a proper way at this moment, but the first video meetings (November 2012) have been successful.

Which related projects can be studied or consulted? No similar projects have been identified, but some projects contains similar aspects: From RUR@CT database ( “Installation of high technology appliances in flats for older and disabled people” From : NEDERLAND, Noord-Brabant - (including video communication).

"Public Video Conference Spot (PVCS) Bringing public services to citizens in rural areas " From : FRANCE, Auvergne

Applicability and transferability Video communication seems to be a universal tool which is useful for many purposes. One basic condition however is that the necessary broadband infrastructure must be available. A stable level of bandwidth for both upload and download is needed to avoid bad quality and disturbance of video and sound. In Vejen Kommune we have FTTH networks with plenty of capacity to almost every home and enterprise and to all public offices and institutions. There is no limit for the use of video communication in our area. Just be aware that technology and bandwidth are key issues but culture, habits and traditions for meetings have to be changed as well if video communication is to be implemented on a larger scale.

Tools (to be) used in this pilot project • Use of Business case format tool – feasibility, financing, sustainability of project after end finance, payback time, effects. To be able to consider the project on its merits. Used for evaluation afterwards. Can be integrated part of a project decision tool. • Project group in the municipality (as well as at the hospitals) with good understanding of the final target groups (expertise needed), e.g. one ICT expert, one nurse, one organiser from administration or development... • User manual per target group (new situation and new routines)

Last update of this format: December 11th 2012