Demand for home care for seniors in need of support in Germany is high. At the same time, there is a lack of qualified personnel which means that foreign workers, especially from Eastern European countries, have become the mainstay of supply. However, the lack of public guidelines often results in the exploitation of care staff and inadequate customer advice. “We have a crisis in care in Germany, but that shouldn’t be a license to exploit caregivers,” says Oliver Weiss, CEO of Mecasa.
On 22 January 2021, the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) published the new quality standard DIN SPEC 33454, which has been developed under the direction of the start-up Mecasa by an interdisciplinary committee (nursing scientists, consumer advocates, lawyers, and other quality-oriented care companies) since 2018. This quality standard sets an important stimulation for legal and social balance and is intended to provide standardised protection for customers and caregivers alike. Requirements for a care relationship following DIN SPEC 33454 include conditions such as checking the employment contracts of the foreign partner companies, comprehensive information for the caregivers before the start of their assignment, and the integration of daycare or outpatient care services, for example, to ensure breaks and days off.
DIN SPEC 33454 also clearly defines specifications and procedures for the placement process and, for the first time, differentiates between nursing-founded care and unqualified personnel placement. “With DIN SPEC 33454, intermediaries can no longer pass on the personnel suggestions of their recruiting partners in Eastern Europe without closer scrutiny. A suitability test of the caregivers, customer care advice and support during the assignment are mandatory for certified home care”, reports Oliver Weiss. On the other hand, customers can also be sure that a foreign caregiver is capable of acting in emergency situations, as they will be required to provide proof of a first-aid certificate as of 2022. From February 2021, certification according to the brand-new standard for quality-oriented placement companies will be possible.
The complete new quality standard DIN SPEC 33454 can be added to the shopping cart as a PDF document, ordered free of charge, and then downloaded. DIN SPEC 33454 can be found here.
The new quality standard is not Mecasa’s only project in exemplary home care. With the funding received from the EIT Health Headstart Programme 2019, the four Mecasa founders Oliver Weiss, Simon Spangenberg, Dr. Benjamin Krill, and Jan Müntinga developed together with Prof. Dr. Dirk Hagemann from EIT Health Core Partner University of Heidelberg, a digital placement platform with a psychological matching model. The algorithm aligns a caregiver’s personality, values, individual way of caring, and communication patterns with the respective senior’s social preferences in terms of caregiving style and interpersonal communication. By matching, Mecasa has already been able to reduce the dropout rate of caregiver relationships from 31 to 12 per cent.
Read the official press release here. (German only)