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Electronic care planning isn’t just improving the lives of those in care, it’s improving the lives of those working in care too.
Personalised care plans are the best way to ensure your care team provide the most person-centred support to those they care for.
Each individual is different, therefore a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work, especially when you care for people with very different needs.
When it comes to working with personalised plans on paper, things can be quite tricky. With care teams looking after many different people at the same time, a lot of carers’ time is spent looking at care plans, writing up notes and analysing information by hand, which can become very time consuming, and ultimately takes away from the time they could be spending with those they support.
As personalised plans become far easier to create, manage and analyse online, they can also be shared easily with members of a care team so that everyone can see the information they need at the click of a button.
This results in people receiving a much more personal and bespoke level of care, and ensures care teams are always working with a person-centred approach. There are many benefits to personalised care plans that are empowering teams to provide a greater level of care.
Having a team of carers who enjoy their job is so important when striving to deliver outstanding person-centred care. When care teams are happy, this shines through in their delivery of care. Here’s just a few ways personalised plans are empowering care teams working digitally……
The most common way care teams are feeling empowered by personalised plans is through increased efficiency.
Having each care plan easily accessible at the touch of a button can save carers a huge amount of time looking through stacks of paper and spending lengthy periods writing up notes. It also means there’s no confusion or questioning when shifts change, as you handover to the next carer they have all of the same information readily available. Knowing what’s been done and what needs to be done allows carers to ensure people are getting everything they need in a timely fashion.
The Nourish system has a handover feature which allows carers to quickly scan through what a previous member of staff has done that day or night, which means that change overs are seamless and consistent care is provided at all times.
With personal plans for each individual they support accessible at the touch of a button, carers are feeling empowered through that added confidence in their role.
Personalised plans provide in-depth information about a person and their needs, including everything from their allergies and medication history to their likes and dislikes. Having this information to hand allows carers to get to know the people they support, and in having this deeper understanding of their needs, carers can feel confident they are providing the safest form of care for individuals.
The Nourish system has the ability to log notes and send direct messages to other members of staff, so if something doesn’t look right or they’re unsure of something, this makes it easy for care teams to communicate with each other and support each other in their daily tasks.
Those who work in care do so because they want to help and make a difference in people’s lives, but when there’s mountains of paperwork to do at the end of a shift, this can sometimes make carers feel like they could be doing more if it wasn’t for all the admin that comes with the job.
Personalised plans that are created digitally allow carers to spend less time on admin and paperwork, and more time doing what they do best, which is caring.
“Saved around 30% of the time care teams would have spent writing their notes” and “quite easily saves staff around 20 minutes per shift”.
Personalised plans empower care teams to work with a person-centred approach, as it gives them the time to spend with those they support in a face to face environment. Spending quality time with those in care is good for both the person receiving and giving the support.
The majority of carers’ job satisfaction comes from being able to make genuine human connections and really make a difference to those they care for. Admin is often seen as a necessary evil of the job, but a digital way of working can cut down this admin time immensely, which makes a huge difference to the way in which care teams work.
Autonomy is the key to a smooth running team, and personalised plans can help provide greater clarity on what each individual needs, without any uncertainty.
With a comprehensive care plan, handover notes and direct messaging available within the Nourish system, carers no longer need to search high and low for specific information about a person. A personal care plan will have all the important details of what that person needs, so that the carer on duty can simply get on with their work efficiently and effectively.
The Nourish system has a comprehensive care plan and personalised timeline that can give carers an extensive overview of a person’s biography, care needs, medication, emergency information and more.
Having easy digital access to personalised care plans is empowering care teams in the workplace with a better understanding of what is required of them in their role. Working digitally eliminates a lot of the uncertainty and groups all information together in one central location, which provides greater structure and direction for care teams.
With a clearer view of the needs of each person under their care, their work becomes easier and they feel more motivated to go above and beyond. With a more streamlined system that everyone has access to, admin time is drastically cut down and teams are empowered to provide more person centred care, there’s no doubt that a digital way of working is going to boost morale in the workplace.
With the structure and efficiency of a digital personalised plan, teams can put all their effort into providing outstanding care for everyone.
Many of us use some kind of technology to monitor our health and well-being. We’ve got fitness trackers, smart watches, sleep trackers, fluid logs, gym apps and so much more. We input our data and track our progress so we can see where and how we can make changes to improve our health. And just as it can improve our health, data and analytics can improve your care management too!
With this in mind, the same concept is now being applied in the care sector. Care teams are now able to use a digital system to record notes and assist with daily care. Moving away from a paper-based system comes with a whole host of benefits, one of which is the huge amount of data that can be analysed, which has great potential to improve the way care and support is provided.
In order to look at ways in which care can be improved, measurable data is needed. Not only will this help to spot any initial areas for improvement, but the continuous monitoring of data allows you to accurately measure the effects of any changes made. A data-driven approach to care can really help care teams to better understand those they support, and feel confident they are providing the safest daily care to each individual.
Fears surrounding big data
Although the idea of using data analysis is supposed to instill confidence in carers, it is understandable that many people still have their reservations about this, mainly surrounding the accuracy of said data, and where data protection comes into the equation. But when it comes to the digital vs paper debate, it is clear that paper recording poses a far greater risk for inaccuracy and inconsistencies in patient information.
We are already starting to see technology being implemented within the health and social care sectors. The NHS is slowly starting to work on digitalisation of patient records, and electronic care planning is now becoming the norm across many care homes in the UK. Now that the care sector is rapidly adopting a digital way of working, data analytics is the next step in evolving and enhancing the way we care. But how exactly can data and analytics improve your care management?
Spotting trends in those you support
One of the main benefits of analysing data is to be able to spot trends. This could be anything from eating habits to sleeping patterns, and these trends may vary between care providers.
What this allows carers to do is look at the bigger picture. Did someone refuse their dinner or their medication one night? If so, why did they? Who was on shift that evening? When looking at the bigger picture you can start to see what’s missing or what’s changed and ask the necessary questions to get to the bottom of it.
With paper recording, it can be a little trickier to keep up to date with the bigger picture and see things clearly, meaning things can get missed. While it may sound extreme, spotting someone’s decline in appetite could be the difference between life or death, as this could be the first sign of an underlying condition that could otherwise go unnoticed.
Creating continuity of care
Having data recorded electronically makes it far easier to run reports, and gain insight into individual’s needs. This type of data recording and reporting is proactive and allows you to share insight and information with your care team and other healthcare providers in a safe and efficient way.
With data reports readily available to view, this is a far more accurate way of sending and receiving up to date information, ensuring that everyone is getting the right level of care they require.
Creates a transparent care environment
When there is clear communication among care teams, you are better equipped to support those in your care. Going digital has its benefits in ensuring everyone is on the same page, but the analysis of data takes this one step further.
By providing everyone with the facts and figures in a clear and concise way, these insights will empower carers to be the best they can be. With reports and data readily available, this means everyone can have clarity around the type of care an individual needs and what is being done to support them, and family members can be kept in the loop so they have peace of mind their loved ones are in good hands.
Transparency is key when it comes to evidencing care for CQC purposes. Data analysis better equips you to provide the best quality care as well as have all the necessary information readily available for inspectors when you have an audit.
The future of data and analytics in a post Covid-19 world
This year, the care sector has faced many challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic swept across the globe and sadly became one of the leading causes of deaths within care. Understanding something like this virus can become a lot easier when we’re able to analyse the facts and the figures. Care homes who were successful in preventing an outbreak within their organisation were monitoring things extremely closely. Symptoms, incubation periods, and patient-staff interactions were all recorded and able to be analysed to track and prevent outbreaks from sweeping through their care service.
Data and analytics is quickly going to become a must within the care sector in a post-pandemic world. The Goverment have already invested £600 billion into an Infection Control Fund for care homes, and using that funding for digital transformation could help so many care services become better prepared in the future. Not only does technology make it far easier to breakdown and understand data, but using a digital device to share information with staff, families and other healthcare services is far safer as it reduces contact between one another. Staff will be able to work more efficiently when they can all access a centralised system remotely, and it’ll be easier to log and track who has been where and when which will ultimately help prevent the spread of the virus.
How electronic care planning can help
Moving towards a digital way of working has a number of advantages, and now is the time for care services who are still using paper records to make the switch. Collating and using big data allows care teams to become more aware and vigilant of the risks to those they support, understand those risks, and implement solutions. At Nourish, we want to encourage data analysis to help care organisations provide better care, which is why our electronic care planning system can also be upgraded with an analytics tool that can help spot trends and patterns to better equip you in supporting those in your care.
We now also have a Covid-19 Tracker built into our platform, so you can track the virus more closely and understand how it is affecting your care service. To find out more about how Nourish can help you provide better care, book a demo with us today.
According to the latest report published by Skills for Care, there are currently an estimated 1.49 million people working in adult social care across the UK. Everyday these carers make a significant difference to the lives of those they support. Often delivering so much more than just Health and Social care; developing strong relationships, providing companionship and in general improving the well-being of those they work with.
However, this skilled and unique position doesn’t come without its challenges, particularly in today’s difficult economic climate. It can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, so it is important for carers to take time out and focus on their own well-being. This isn’t always easy though, which is why it’s important for us as a society to take a step back and acknowledge the great work that is being delivered, and give something back to those who give so much to others.
On the 4 September, to celebrate the amazing work that carers deliver day in day out, the National Association of Care & Support Workers (NACAS), will be holding its second ‘Professional Care Workers Day’.
The national event, which is free to attend, will be held in London and will focus on the theme of ‘Well-being’. The aim of the day is to make carers feel special and help them to focus on their own physical and mental well-being. The day will offer free consultations and workshops with physiotherapists, psychologists, nutritionists, beauty and massage therapists, money and career advice, along with more ways to help care workers look after themselves and feel better.
According to the oxford dictionary well-being is the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’. It is no surprise that our well-being can be affected, positively or negatively, by various different factors. Knowing what these factors are means that we can try and do more of the things that increase our positive well-being and less of the things that negatively affect it.
As we are all different our well-being will be effected in different ways, however there are certain things we can try to improve it:
As a carer, looking after your own well-being is just as important as helping to look after the well-being of those you support. Taking some time out to focus on yourself can have a significant impact on your overall physical, mental and emotional health. When we feel good in ourselves it often has a knock-on effect for those we interact with. So, take that time to make yourself a cuppa tea and just focus on yourself, get out for a nice brisk walk or get that early night you’ve been promising yourself.
If you’re carer or a provider who wants to celebrate the great work being delivered and are interested in taking advantage of the free services on offer at the Professional Care Workers Day, you can register here. If not you can still shout about and recognise those who make a difference every day on social media using the #ProfessionalCareWorkersDay hash tag.
Sleep disturbances can come from many different sources but those related to illness need extra care and consideration. No matter the condition, a foundation built on healthy sleep habits can help. Sleep hygiene, the term used to describe any personal habits and behaviours that affect sleep, ranges from the conditions of the sleep environment to food choices. The Sleep Institute have put together a list of healthy sleep habits and how you can use them for you and the person for whom you care.
There are many illnesses and conditions that can interfere with how the brain releases sleep hormones. It’s most noticeable with neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. However, conditions that limit eyesight also experience abnormal sleep cycles due to changes in how the brain receives light signals. Yet other conditions like diabetes and arthritis may face sleep problems due to chronic pain. You’ll have to consider the condition and unique circumstances as you’re deciding how to implement better sleep habits.
The human brain craves predictability as it’s designed to adjust the sleep cycle according to your preferred schedule. Keeping a consistent bedtime helps the brain recognize when to begin the release of sleep hormones. The more predictable you can be the more readily your body responds.
Routine creates familiarity and reduces disorientation. It also helps signal the brain that it’s time to start the sleep cycle. Try to complete any difficult or upsetting tasks earlier in the day so that bedtime can be relaxing for everyone involved.
Some people, especially those who suffer from chronic pain, benefit from relaxation activities like meditation in their bedtime routine. Meditation reduces the anticipation of pain and, consequently, the perception of it as well. It also reduces stress by helping the mind focus on the present moment rather than past or future stress-causing events.
A bedroom that’s familiar with each item in its place can bring the kind of comfort that reduces evening irritability. A supportive sleep environment should also be dark and quiet. Be careful with electronics that may have blinking lights. These devices, like a TV or smartphone, may have a screen that emits a bright blue light that suppresses sleep hormones. In general, they’re best left out of the bedroom. Anything that overstimulates the sense from images and colors to passing cars should also be removed or blocked out.
Illness or medications may cause hallucinations or fitful sleep, making some people prone to falling out of bed. Guardrails are a good option that will protect the person for whom you care and give you peace of mind. Guardrails can also prevent knocking over any necessary nighttime medical equipment.
Natural light regulates the sleep cycle by suppressing sleep hormones during the day. As natural light fades in the evening, those sleep hormones start to trickle out until they’re at full power come bedtime. It’s essential to get enough sunlight so the body functions as designed, which makes a walk outside a good form of exercise and a simple way to improve sleep.
If dimming eyesight or mobility that limits outdoor activity is an issue, exposure to natural light through normal means may not be adequate. Bright light therapy, which uses specially designed light bulbs to simulate sunlight, can be used to increase light exposure and regulate the sleep cycle as well.
Everyone needs and deserves a good night’s rest. As you incorporate healthy sleep habits into your life and the life of the person for whom you care, you’ll both get the rest you need. With better sleep comes the physical, mental, and emotional health that allows you to live a fulfilling life while providing high-quality care.
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More and more we are openly talking about the importance of Mental Health, and this critical change in our culture is having a wide-reaching and positive impact. This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year’s focus is all about stress and how we cope with it. Stress, and the resulting physical and psychological factors, can impact significantly on our mental health.
One of the most common causes of stress is work-related; that is, establishing a good work-life balance. In fact, work-related stress, depression and anxiety caused 12.5 million days sickness in 2016/17 alone.
While finding a healthy work-life balance can be difficult in almost any profession, this becomes even more challenging if your work focuses on taking care of others. Care workers, whilst also managing stress that comes from day-to-day work responsibilities, must also navigate the complex, emotional investment that comes from taking care of another person. And whilst caring is a highly rewarding role, it can also be overwhelming at times.
So to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week we wanted to remind care teams that, while you are out taking care of others every single day, it’s so important to take care of yourself too.
Below we’ve put together our five top tips for managing work-related stress:
One of our biggest tips for managing work-related stress is to try and work out exactly what it’s being caused by. Are you spending too much time working? Doing a few too many extra shifts? Are you being asked to do something you don’t feel equipped to do? Is there a specific situation or scenario that is causing you anxiety? It may not be easy to pin point the exact cause, but having an awareness of where the stress is coming from is a great first step to tackling the problem. Then communicate that problem. Talk to your line manager, your mentor or any member of staff that you feel may be able to help. Explain how you are feeling and what support you think you need. The worst thing about stress, and the resulting anxiety, is that it makes you feel isolated from others. Everyone experiences stress, and opening up and talking about the stress you’re feeling can be a great way to find the support that you need and tackle the root of the problem.
We all know we should take care of ourselves. Eat well, drink plenty of water, do exercise; we know the score. The reality is these things really do matter when it comes to tackling stress. Taking care of yourself means living healthily and when you are healthy and energised, you are much more equipped to deal with day-to-day pressures. Eating a balance diet keeps us healthy; doing exercise releases endorphins or ‘happy chemicals’ which reduce our perception of pain and triggers a positive feeling in the body; and it is well documented that good hydration helps balance cortisol (stress hormone) levels. It’s a simple tip, but it’s important. Eat well, drink your water and get yourself moving regularly. If you’re not feeling your healthiest self, managing stress becomes that much more difficult.
This falls under taking care of yourself but we think it’s so important it needs its own section. Sleep is one of the most underrated health habits, which is surprising considering it is an essential function of our daily recovery. Sleep and stress have a two-way relationship; sleep can help to reduce stress levels, whilst high stress levels can make sleeping difficult. It is believed that most adults need 7-8 hours sleep, and without it we are more agitated, have less patience and are less able to deal with pressured and stressful situations. To make the most of the benefits of sleep, you need a good sleep routine. Set a clear bedtime and wake-up time and stick to it; allocate time before going to sleep for winding down and relaxing (keep away from screens where possible!); and avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Establishing a healthy sleep routine takes time to develop but the benefits are definitely worth the investment; just think how about how much better you feel after a good nights sleep.
Stress can make you feel isolated. It gives us the impression that we are dealing with pressures that we must tackle by ourselves; which couldn’t be less true. You know the old adage “a problem shared is a problem halved”? Well research by Age UK really has found this to be true. Above, we suggested talking to people at work about your concerns, but you can also talk your close friends and family. Don’t let stress cut you off from other people, talk to those you trust about what you’re experiencing and you’ll be surprised by how much it helps. Not only that, you just might find they have the solution you’re looking for.
Our final tip is our favourite; make time to do something just for you. This could be once a day or once a week, whichever works. As a carer, you spend most of your time taking care of others and supporting others to do what they want. This is the time when you get to do whatever you want, without interruption. This could be absolutely anything. Maybe you enjoy going to a yoga class, maybe it’s putting on your favourite TV programme or maybe it’s simply going for a walk on your own. What you do is not important. What’s important is that you understand this is purely for you, it’s the time when you get to think only of yourself and recharge your batteries.
Providing care for another person is immensely rewarding, but it does take an emotional toll. Remember that it’s perfectly normal – essential even – to take time to look after yourself. Your mental and physical wellbeing is just as important as the people you support; after all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
We hope you’re celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week too and we’d love to hear all of the top tips you have for managing work-related stress.
Embracing digital technology in the social care sector has many obvious benefits; not least time saving, more accurate note taking, simple reporting capabilities and a significant reduction in paper storage.
However, we are now also seeing that once care providers have fully integrated Nourish Care into their service, they are constantly finding innovative ways to utilise the technology.
Soon after the digital recording of care notes and updating care plans has become second nature, care teams become excited by the flexibility of the system and endless opportunities it encompasses.
The more time we spend with our care providers, the more we are impressed with the how forward thinking they are. Here are just a couple of examples of how our clients have been thinking outside the box when it comes to flexing the capability muscles of Nourish.
One home we recently revisited has started to record an interaction each day of wishing every resident a ‘good morning’. They also record their responses and any conversations that followed. It’s such a simple addition to their list of daily tasks, but encourages care staff to interact with the residents that little bit more, and on an emotional level. It also gives great insight into how the resident is feeling that day and can be a helpful indicator of their mental health.
Many of our clients provide care to pet owners, some of whom live in the home with them. Whether it’s cats, dogs, guinea pigs or chickens, carers have started to create daily records, and even care plans, for the animals. This is a fun and engaging way to use the system and ensures our fluffy and feathery companions are also fed on time, given any care they require and taken for those all-important walks.
Pets are often an integral part of a residents’ or service users’ life and happiness, and it’s just common sense to keep them healthy and happy too. Having care plans for the service’s pets also provides a great talking point when engaging with residents and their families, and we love how our care partners are using the system to encourage communication.
The flexibility of the Nourish system means that anything you want to personalise or remind staff of can be built into the daily records. Maybe Frank is trying a gluten-free diet; maybe Margaret likes a cup of tea while she reads in the afternoon; or perhaps Victor is going to start chair exercises once a week. Whatever the preference, goal or need, the daily records can reflect this, helping to keep the care team up-to-date of any changes.
Another innovative way we’ve seen care providers using the system is to also report maintenance issues. This could include task reminders, so that maintenance checks are completed, and even to ‘flag up’ maintenance concerns. For example, if a carer notices that a light bulb has blown, the carer can take a photo and note its location from a drop-down list of rooms on the Nourish system. They can then set a warning for the maintenance team who will see to the maintenance issue and turn off the warning when it has been resolved. It’s great to hear how the system is being used, not just to support care teams providing care, but also to support the smooth running of the overall service.
A final example of where our care partners have taken a unique approach to using our system is with regards to checking fire doors. We currently offer NFC tag technology, which many of our care and nursing homes use for night checks. These small tags are placed in the residents’ rooms so that when a carer completes a night check, they can tap their Nourish device onto the tag and it will record accurate information for when the check was completed.
Some of our care providers also use this technology to ensure fire doors are secure. The tag has been placed on the fire door, and when the relevant staff member taps their device onto the tag, a form appears which asks the staff member to check the fire door and record the task as complete or if action is required.
Our system was created to empower carers and support care teams to provide the best quality of care possible. However, we are so pleased that the flexibility of the system is encouraging care teams to think creatively and find new ways of making the most of the technology to support their care provision.
When we first went into a care home with Nourish, it took a couple of days to get users online. But time has moved on. We listened to feedback, we watched how users interacted with Nourish, and we adapted design and functionality for the very real world of care. Now when we go into a care home, we expect to see the entire care team up and running by lunchtime. This includes those people who say “oh I don’t like technology”, and those who say “I’ll never get to grips with a mobile device”, and the 76-year-old carer who recently told us that she would never use Facebook but she uses Nourish every day. Because we use design to make Nourish intuitive and fit into the way people care, not work against them.
The speed at which the care setting feels the effects is palpable. We recently introduced Nourish to a care setting which was fully online with over 200 records created on Nourish by the end of day one. We work with a care home that only has a small team but on average they create over 600 records a day – that’s a lot of information to capture, and could only happen with a system that is quick, efficient, and makes sense in the very real world of care with all its challenges. And because of the way Nourish is structured, that information is easily retrievable. With just a few clicks, that same care team can create a report on any category of information captured, with no need to return to the filing cabinet and sift through 600 sheets of paper.
And what about care plans? Will it take hours to change the fit of the care plans used by a team for many years, that work so well, into a new shape? Not at all, because Nourish is fully customisable. We work with care managers to make Nourish fit into the way they work already.
It is people who care that inspire us to do what we do. The best care will always come from teamwork, so talk to us and let’s see what we can do, together, to make care the best it can be.