The Daughters of Charity Service has been providing services to people with intellectual disabilities and to their families since 1892. Initially based at St. Vincent’s on the Navan Road the service also provides services in Limerick and North Tipperary.
The Dublin Service has now expanded beyond the Navan Road premises and includes a variety of different day and residential options and community-based services from Phisboro to Clonee. The diverse clinical needs of people with intellectual disabilities require a large and varied workforce.
Direct care and support are provided by nurses, care staff, and social care workers. Service users are also supported by a comprehensive multi-disciplinary team including psychologists, behaviour therapists, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and psychiatrists.
The Daughters of Charity Service has 1,000 employees based in the Dublin area alone. Access to the most up-to-date applications and information is an absolute requirement for any employees working directly with clients but is of particular importance to the multi-disciplinary teams. These employees constantly move between its many sites and need to be able to access all of the relevant applications from wherever they are.
The main role of the Daughters of Charity Service is to provide care and support for people with intellectual disabilities and while Information Technology is an essential part of their organisation, it is not the primary focus. The Daughters of Charity Service needed to find a way to reduce the costs and management of its IT resources.
Whether it is my email, roster scheduling or checking the pharmacy information for the ladies’ medication, it is essential for me to have access to all my work applications whenever I need them. I often move between client houses, our main building and the daycare centre, and can access everything I need wherever I am and in the same way each time. It really makes a difference to my work. It ensures I can quickly get access to all the most relevant and current information and can concentrate on my main goal, caring for the ladies.
Dawn McGarr – Day Activities Manager, Daughters of Charity Service
The Daughters of Charity Service, along with their IT delivery partner Unity Technology Solutions, a Citrix Gold Solutions Advisor, implemented Citrix XenDesktop which incorporates XenApp and XenServer. This technology enabled the organisation to continue concentrating on its main function as a care provider, and to free up its IT resources.
Much of the Daughters of Charity Service employees’ time is spent living and working in the residential units or houses, or working with the clients in the day centres. It is essential that these employees have secure access to all their applications whenever they need them. All the Daughters of Charity Service most critical applications – such as its HR and Payroll, electronic client records and Microsoft Office – are run on Citrix XenApp. With confidentiality a high priority, all remote employees access their desktop applications through the secure Citrix Access Gateway.
The ease of deployment and simplicity of management has made a vast difference with limited IT resources and a large user base. When distributing or upgrading applications, the IT team only has to update one single copy, whereas previously they had to visit every PC at every site and troubleshoot issues at each individual PC. The centralised delivery and management of servers and desktop applications using XenServer and XenApp results in huge savings in terms of time and expense enabling the organisation to redeploy the funds into improving client care.
Daughters of Charity Service are also currently testing a new Electronic Client Record system. This will do away with the large amounts of paper records and will create highly accurate networks of information for its diverse teams. The simplicity with which this can be deployed using Citrix will remove all the time and pain from this process and any issues can be easily fixed from one location.
It is also very important for many of the Daughters of Charity Service’s clients to have regular contact with their families. The Daughters of Charity Service plans to provide Skype to all clients living in the residential bungalows to make the cherished contact with families easier. Skype and Citrix recently announced a strategic partnership which will expand Skype’s business offerings by providing powerful collaboration features for organisations of all sizes to set up and hold video meetings. As Unity is a leading voice and unified communications partner, the ability to integrate both the voice and data requirements for Daughters of Charity Service will be hugely beneficial.
The ability of these virtualisation technologies to enable the saving on IT costs has been the key benefit for the Daughters of Charity Service.
Citrix allows us to provide a consistent experience for all of our employees, no matter where they are logging in from. They are not tied to being in one location and they have the same icons presented to them, regardless of how or where they are logging on, so they are never in doubt about what actions to take. Not having to worry about how to access the applications or get used to a new PC every time they move site is very important to our employees. We have quite a diverse range of PCs, with everything from Windows 98 to Windows 7 and it is important to us to provide a uniform feel to all users as they move around the organisation. Citrix guarantees this uniform experience.
Thomas Mac Ardle – IT Manager, Daughters of Charity Service