Our 2022 ZiEPS Project: Der Wünschewagen

Eric Petry, 12 May 2022

Our 2022 ZiEPS Project: Der Wünschewagen

At Schwarz IT, trainees from across various technical and commercial fields have the opportunity to participate in individual development projects spanning target groups with a focus on environmental and social issues (known as ZiEPS projects). Participants bring their existing knowledge and skills to the table and have the chance to learn and develop important key skills. The projects promote collaboration between colleagues. They raise awareness of the importance of maintaining a positive approach to the environment and to the social issues facing our society.

In 2022, participants of one of these ZiEPS projects decided they want to support the “Der Wünschewagen - Letzte Wünsche wagen” In cooperation with STACKIT, Schwarz IT’s digital brand, the team is developing ideas and solutions for supporting the organization, coordination and, ultimately, the fulfillment of wishes digitally. For a little over five years now, ASB has been pursuing its aim of fulfilling the wishes of people with a life-limiting illness through its Wünschewagen project. Besides the Ludwigsburg region, there are 21 locations nationwide with up to two comfortable converted patient transport vehicles. Each region has a coordinator who is responsible for organizing and coordinating the wish trips through to completion. The trips are conducted by at least two volunteers.

The ASB Ludwigsburg and the Dieter Schwarz Foundation have been cooperating together as of this year. It was this cooperation that sparked the idea for the ZiEPS project: to develop software for ASB to help the organization process wish requests and plan the fulfillment of the wishes. The ASB receives a large volume of wishes. Therefore assessing and planning the fulfillment of all these wishes takes a lot of work. The individual health condition of the person who has made the wish is a key factor in planning. Additional nursing staff, medical equipment and medication must be taken into account. The project is funded by donations and depends above all on the availability of volunteers and patient transport vehicles - two further aspects that are key to planning. The chosen route and the distance to the destination need to be considered as well: It must be possible to fulfill the wish within one day. In special cases, overnight stays of up to two nights are possible. In addition, the destination for the wish trip should be in Germany or a neighbouring country, e.g., Denmark or the Netherlands.

The entire planning phase usually takes around a week, sometimes less. The coordinator receives the information about the wishing person and their specific wish via email or via an online form on the Wünschewagen project website. Once the request has been received and processed, the relevant data is processed manually by the relevant coordinator. The planning status is tracked and updated right up until the trip itself. As well as the date that the wish was received, the collection location, the destination, and the personal data of the person who made the wish, the relevant costs and the details of the companions are also recorded. As this process involves a lot of manual steps and the recording of all the data in a spreadsheet quickly becomes unwieldy due to the sheer volume of data involved, the ZiEPS project team made it their aim to optimize this process using IT solutions and, as a first step, to make life easier for the coordinator at ASB Ludwigsburg.

The aim is for coordination to be scalable. The software to be developed should enable a much larger number of wishes to be accepted and coordinated. It should also be prepared for potential nationwide implementation. It is important to note that complete automation is not the end goal. Humans should remain at the heart of the operation. The team is developing software that, at its core, facilitates the coordination of wishes. The wish requests should be clearly and easily accessible, so that they can be processed directly.

The software should enable the feasibility of wishes to be assessed as quickly as possible. Due to the use of personal data, such as the name and specific medical condition of those who have submitted the wishes, the software needs a high level of protection. The software should show the progress of wishes and provide the coordinators and the people who have made the wishes with a status overview. Another factor to consider during organization and coordination is the companions and volunteers. The volunteers need to be adequately informed about the planned trip and the required equipment. Open and clear communication between the volunteers and the coordinators is crucial to ensuring that the process runs smoothly.

Our project team is delighted to be supporting ASB. The project is helping all participants to become more aware of and sensitive to social issues. We are grateful for the opportunity to help the volunteers.