After dealing with the perfect storm which was the Coronavirus pandemic hitting care homes across the globe, we saw a step change in how the sector regards digital transformation. During this time, care teams faced a series of difficult decisions which only seemed to have unfavourable options. Do we stop family visits? Do we implement isolation policies? Do we buy testing kits even though we’re not sure how reliable they really are?
Care homes took on new patients to help ease the burden on the NHS, despite already being at capacity, and the hard work, difficult decisions, and risks that care teams have taken this year are nothing short of heroic. It felt like the odds were truly stacked against them, as person-centered care suffered due to the fact the main priority became simply keeping everyone healthy.
Managing in such scenarios brought home how important good communication and coordination of care is. The value of having access to information, without the burden of reporting became immense. And care homes who had already embarked on digital transformation were able to get a much better situational awareness when managing their teams over the last few months.
Digital information is actionable – teams can use digital to coordinate with each other and with others in the community, such as GPs, all while keeping auditing teams aware of the support each person is receiving, with clear context.
While some providers are still resistant to change, they are now coming to realise that paper records don’t help them manage change or achieve the agility needed to respond to a pandemic. We’ve already begun to see a huge shift in the way care services work, and views on digital are changing, as those considering the benefits of digital are now in the majority.
As we begin to reflect on the last few months, care services from around the globe have shared stories of how they successfully managed virus outbreaks in their homes. These largely consist of a proactive approach to closely monitoring symptoms, and the symptoms of suspected cases of Covid-19, accessing frequent testing, implementing robust barrier measures, and doing everything possible to stop the infection from spreading.
A digital way of working provides the ability to analyse data quickly and to coordinate teams by sharing current status of infection, which can ultimately put a team ahead of the game in order to predict and prepare for how the situation progresses.
A digital system will also support effective contact tracing, which in turn allows you to model staff absences, know when and where to implement stricter isolation policies, and clearly see who is most at risk amongst those in your care, so you can do everything you can to protect those you support.
In light of this, and with the prospect of potentially being hit by a second wave, those who were reluctant to make the switch before are now having a change of heart. Care in a post-Covid world is likely to see a huge digital transformation, which sounds daunting, but could really be the silver lining that makes the health and social care sector more efficient, agile and better prepared to support each person in a way that is truly centred on the person and not shaped by “systems”.
Getting the most out of a digital transformation requires the mindset of being on a journey – it’s not just about buying a product. We usually summarise it as a three-stage process, which will gradually increase your maturity and unleash new benefits as digital becomes more embedded.
Stage 1: review what you record, consider why you record it. At Nourish we are able to accelerate this process if you want to accept our libraries of documentation shaped by best practice stemming from hundreds of providers, but you can adjust it to what is right for you.
Stage 2: You start by bringing your care teams on board – user experience is really important, as well as the experience you are offered by the supplier. At Nourish we help our clients with adoption of the new system by ensuring each person in their care team is trained. We give them all the assets necessary to ensure everyone who needs to be informed is engaged on the journey. As an immediate result, care workers see a reduction in the time spent writing down notes, better awareness of the status of each person they’re supporting, and a sense of empowerment.
Stage 3: As information is recorded digitally, data quality improves dramatically, and this opens the opportunity to explore how analytics can help provide better tools to run a care provider. Insights extracted from care data can support improvement in all areas, clearly on quality of care, but also in audit processes, operations and financial sustainability;
The ability to analyse data is a huge benefit in a care setting beyond the battle against Covid-19. In a day-to-day setting, data and analytics allows care teams to record and monitor data, and spot trends in those they support. This level of insight greatly increases the quality of care that is provided to individuals.
During the Covid-19 outbreak we continued to support care providers with remote training, support and rolling out our services, in the same way we did before, but now using video conference, which has proven to be very effective.
Digital will also mean that Social Care will be able to share information with the NHS where applicable. In sharing patient data with the relevant healthcare professionals at the click of a button, teams are far more equipped to provide the safest form of care at all times, which in some cases could be the difference someone having to be admitted into hospital or being cared for safely where they are, and in extreme cases may mean the difference between life and death.
Ultimately, going digital has the potential to introduce a much-needed flow of knowledge, inclusivity and empowerment between care teams, healthcare professionals and most importantly, those being supported and their families. Clear evidencing of care, following best practice, and establishing how to improve through insight from care data will undoubtedly shape the future of health and social care. In doing so, it can put care services one step ahead in providing the best possible care for all, not just in the event of a pandemic, but for the future of care indefinitely.
For more information on Nourish and how it can help your care service, book a demo today!
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.
Last week, we attended yet another fantastic Dorset Care Conference, hosted by Care Management Matters at the Lighthouse in Poole. This time, we were invited to present on the role of digital in modern care delivery.
The fact that so many people joined us in the discussion was testament to the event organisers, but also showed that more and more care providers are considering how technology can help them improve the way they plan, record and report care.
Our care consultant, Luis Rela, shared some useful tips on how to approach the digital transformation process and how change management is key; while Juliana Jeffery from Luxury Care Group talked about her experience of using the Nourish system in her care home and how to overcome challenges.
The floor was obviously open for questions at the end, of which there were many. Here, we’ve shared a few of them.
Understandably, a banker in the audience wanted to know about the return on investment of going digital in care. Luis explained that there are both tangible and intangible benefits, and that care providers should think about the bigger picture when considering investing in a digital care management system:
“The tangible benefits are easier to define, of course. You only need to think about the paper you will no longer need to print, store, archive and shred to understand how those costs can be reduced over time.
“There are then intangible benefits such as time saved by recording notes digitally. Many of our care providers say they save at least one hour per carer each day because they don’t have to spend that time at the end of a shift writing notes and instead, record as they go. For some care organisations, this leads to a cut in the number of staff needed on each shift. However, what we find is that care providers instead maintain staff levels to increase the available one-on-one care for residents.
“In fact, one provider said that this decision led to them achieving an outstanding rating with CQC across three of the homes in the group.”
Juliana added: “There is also less time needed to get new or agency staff up to date with individual care plans and they have the time to get to know and spend time with that resident instead.”
So digital transformation is not primarily about driving costs down but improving the amount and quality of care that can be provided.
We were joined in the room by care providers of varying sizes, and many of them wanted to know how much time it takes to go from paper notes and care plans to digital ones.
Luis said: “Typically, it takes two months and we break down the transfer into stages; starting with daily notes and then care plans. However, this really depends on the size of the care home and whether it’s part of a group. If you take Luxury Care for example, they are still going through the process but that’s because they are doing one care home at a time. It also depends on whether we are developing unique features that work with their service. In one instance, a provider wanted to amend the digital care plan template to mirror that of the paper one, so we would do that first.”
Another member of the audience, who is already using Nourish in their care service, commented: “You could argue that there is never an end date once you are using an electronic care management system because you are always evolving and innovating. Every day we are learning something new and get more confident with the system, so every time we have a new idea, we integrate that into our process.”
Going digital obviously involves the use of physical handsets and electronic devices and some members of the audience were concerned that the responsibility of purchasing such equipment would be left to them.
As part of the Nourish service, we provide tablets for managers; handheld devices similar to Smart Phones for carers; and secure log-ins to our cloud-based system which can also be accessed from desktop. The number of devices needed will usually be the same amount of people you will have on each shift. The user will keep the device for the full duration of a shift, log out and handover to the carer taking over the next shift. Each member of the care team has their own log in with set permissions that have been pre-agreed and there are also log ins for agency workers.
Luis explained why this is the best way forward for everyone: “Care providers do not need the added pressure of having to find and purchase their own compatible devices and set them up. Because our software is completely adaptable to the care you provide, we get these ready for you prior to your training. We also have a dedicated technical support team on hand to help you with any queries.”
During her part of the presentation, Juliana explained how having a digital care management system in place had made communication between members of the care teams much easier and members of the audience wanted her to expand on that.
“Because it’s as easy as using Facebook and the device is with them all the time, it’s great for communicating important messages between members of the care team,” said Juliana. “Everyone can see and send messages through Nourish and handovers are now seamless. It’s been brilliant for ensuring everyone is informed immediately. For example, we also use this system to make sure we notify everyone of quality assurance audit results, which would otherwise have been left for meetings. Now everyone feels involved.”
Juliana also highlighted the added benefits of using these devices when recording notes: “We have carers who are not confident in writing notes or perhaps English isn’t their first language, so they love the speech dictation feature. As you speak, it records what you say.”
If you have any questions about the role of digital in modern care delivery and would like to find out how your care service can benefit, please give our team a call on 02380 002288.
If you work in care you will probably spend a great deal of time carefully planning and organising your care plans and pathways. So how do you know if your care plans are comprehensive enough to not only pass a regulatory inspection, but actively help those in your care receive effective support?
In order to help care providers avoid the many pitfalls that come with poor care plans, we’ve compiled a list of the top 12 mistakes poor care plans make and a subsequent list of methods you can use to avoid making them and ensure you always use effective care plans.
Each of the points we’ve made above has its own set of risks and requirements which all lead to a lower quality of care, but with the right approach, technology and techniques, care plans can be designed to avoid all of these pitfalls entirely.
Below we’ve detailed the best ways we’ve found to overcome these care plan pitfalls and how you can navigate through them yourself:
If you’d like to find out more about how Nourish can help you improve your care planning and avoid some of the pitfalls we’ve discussed above, then give us a call on 02380 002 288, get in touch with the team or book a demo.
Let’s face it, when you work in care there can seem to be an overwhelming number of different buzzwords, jargon and acronyms involved in the information you get given. This is especially true when you look at the practices involved with providing people with good quality care. Today we’re going to be looking into integrated person-centred care planning – we’ll help you to demystify the term and try to encourage you to adopt the practices it involves into your care provision.
To begin with we’ll be looking at what “person-centred” actually means in regards to care. Simply put, it’s a shortened way of expressing the creation of a series of activities aligned to specifically cater for a person and their requirements. In a way it’s how you choose to culminate your care pathways & activities in a bespoke manner to provide someone with actions, activities and results that are focused totally on the individual.
Person-centred, applies to care planning, when you take into account the clinical, holistic, desires, needs and wants of person when creating their care plans. It doesn’t stop there, however and in order to be truly person-centred, care plans must be created collaboratively with the person in control of the care interventions they want to accept, how they wish to receive them and designed to enable the person at every opportunity.
Here’s where things get a bit trickier. In order to provide integrated person-centred care planning, care professionals from all areas need to work together in order to ensure that the person in care has a seamless provision of their care, no matter the setting. When you have a person whose care requires the interventions from a variety of different social care and healthcare organisations, this can become fairly complex and has only realistically been achievable with the introduction of electronic health records and electronic care planning systems.
Here at Nourish we focus firmly on empowering person-centred care for those who provide and are in care. You can read more about our vision in our recent article on “framing personhood to manage frailty, needs and wants” from our founder Nuno Almeida. It’s why we’ve designed the Nourish system from the ground up to help enable people to receive tailored care and empower carers to do just that.
Nourish’s care planning system helps care workers, care teams, care managers and senior care providers with person-centred care planning by:
Our team of experts are always happy to help talk through how the Nourish system empowers care teams and care providers – talk to us today to find out more.
At Nourish there are a number of principles that guide our work. Firstly we understand the importance of planning in care, which is why we put care plans at the heart of what we do. Establishing a care plan is key to providing truly personalised care, so we designed Nourish to make that process as smooth as possible.
No two care settings are ever the same, which is why Nourish is flexible and customisable. Our approach is to tailor Nourish to work for care teams, not the other way round. So if a care team has well-established care plans that they are already using, we work with the team to take those care plans online with Nourish – creating the same order that carers are used to. Other settings may prefer to use Nourish care plan templates and then customise them to the care they provide – from nursing care to dementia care to domiciliary care to learning disabilities.
Secondly we use clear, user-friendly design to allow Nourish to fit into carers’ daily work. Care plans can be set up to generate tasks on a daily schedule – for example, if part of a person’s care plan is to monitor a person’s weight loss, daily tasks can be set on the timeline to check nutrition and food intake. Carers have told us time and again that the two hours they used to spend at the end of a shift on paperwork has simply gone, because by the time the shift has finished they have already made all the notes they need to.
Thirdly, care is provided not by a single person, but by a circle of care. Within a residential setting, this may involve the care team, visiting medical staff and family. In home care settings, friends and neighbours may also play a role. With Nourish, notes can easily be made by each person providing care. That information is then stored and organised in the care plan logs in a clear way so that others can access it when they need to.
With all this in place, generating reports no longer involves spending hours retrieving files from the shelves but can be done with just a few clicks, before, after or even during a CQC inspection if required. Care plans can easily be reviewed and audited, which is also vital when it comes to inspection. Reviews may be scheduled, but care teams also have the flexibility to react to changes in a person’s condition which may trigger the need for a care plan review.
Care requires both consistency and flexibility. We designed Nourish to support those needs. Which means care teams can get on with doing what they do best – provide the real, human, compassionate care that enables the people they care for to enjoy the best quality of life possible.