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Moving away from what we know and stepping into the unknown can be a daunting experience. For both businesses and individuals, change isn’t easy and is often something we fear given it isn’t something that comes naturally; but should it be or should we actually fear just standing still? . In the words of Susan Jeffers sometimes we just need to ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’. This is particularly true when it comes to using digital in social care.
This notion of change and not being fearful of it is something that our founder and CEO, Nuno Almeida, touched upon at this year’s Care Show. Representing the ‘Care Software Providers Association’ (CASPA), Nuno addressed the issue of change in relation to the use of digital technology within the care sector.
Although more and more care services are adopting the use of digital technology, there is still an enigma that surrounds the evolution of it within the care sector. It’s hard to believe that in the UK, over 75% of care providers still use a pen and paper for planning and record keeping, rather than using electronic care planning systems. Whilst the care sector has evolved over the years, changes have been slow. There are still a lot of fears associated with digitalisation and its perceived risks. Key concerns revolve around:
All valid and understandable reasons as to why care providers are cautious of changing to a digital way of working. However, as Nuno raised the point, could paper present a bigger risk?
Records can be lost; information can be hard to find, and it can be hard to provide carers with context in terms of what is needed for those they are supporting. In the main paper records are seen more as a statutory obligation. A log of evidence to show standards of care to the likes of CQC and local authorities. The data isn’t being used in a way that can help us to improve and enhance care, something that digital technology can help overcome.
When records are input into a digital system, they become so much more than just evidence for inspection. They open up a whole new world of possibilities that simply wouldn’t be possible with stacks of paper. For example using an electronic care planning system to record digital records enables:
Clearly digital technology such as electronic care planning can provide care providers with a range of benefits, but how can the fear of change be overcome? Like with most things, when you are armed with the right information and the right guidance, change becomes less like something that should be feared and more like something that is manageable and exciting.
In Nuno’s words ‘with the right co-ordination, the right strategy and the right partners, we can get the right digital use in social care’ and this is one of the key aims of CASPA. To help promote and continue to grow the use of digital technologies in the social care sector to improve the quality of care delivered.
To ensure a smooth transition, there are a number of actions care providers can put into place to help when moving to electronic care planning. CASPA suggest the following guidance on how to source and implement digital transformation software.
So you’ve chosen the provider you want to use, but what next? Well you will need to consider how you will implement the new digital system. CASPA suggest following a three-step process for implementation:
Ensure you communicate with families and care teams in a way that is reassuring and clear about the reasons for adopting digital. Try to build excitement and show that this change is positive and something that they don’t need to be nervous about.
Agree whether your chosen supplier will train all your staff or just your internal training team who will then deliver the training to the remaining members of your staff. Once this has been agreed deliver your training accordingly. Give your team reassurance that they can tackle and deal with the change and help them to feel in control by showing them that there are clear plans in place for training and roll-out.
Agree how devices are prepared and deployed. Tell staff where they need to be and when. Ensure you know how user accounts are created and how records are created for the people you support.
Good providers will be able to provide you with all the information you and your team need to ensure you are comfortable and ready for the transition to digital. From giving you clear guidance about GDPR responsibilities to how to manage devices and lock them down should they go missing. When looking for a provider CASPA recommends asking the following questions to help you find out whether they would be a good fit for you:
About the Care Software Providers Association (CASPA)…
CASPA has been established in the UK as an independent, not for profit, member-driven association. The association is currently led by a volunteer group of founding board members, each of whom manages a well-established software company that provides solutions for social care providers
Find out more about whether using an electronic care planning could help you and those you support here.
As a previous care home manager, our Head of Customer Experience, Dan, knows first-hand what impact electronic care planning has on care and the teams who provide it. We asked Dan to give us his thoughts on something we get asked a lot – is electronic really that much quicker than paper?
We all know care is a very busy world to work in.
Visitors, GP’s, hairdressers, chiropodists, maintenance operatives, CQC can be around at any time of the day. Then we think about all of the support we provide throughout the day, how things rarely go according to plan and the notes that we need to record to show what care we’ve been providing.
Often teams are so busy that all of their notes are ‘remembered’ until the end of the shift – a full days notes for a range of different people with varying degrees of support. We see at Nourish that the average provider completes 600 records per day – 600. That is an awful lot of information to be remembered and it’s no wonder that people can quickly forget to write something down.
How many times have you had the following situations in your service:
Electronic platforms help us to tackle all of that.
With platforms like Nourish that can be used on mobile devices, care records can be recorded at the point of care. Recording as something happens means that what we record is more accurate, live and always available to the rest of the team. This not only helps to make sure everyone is informed throughout the day, but it ensures that important tasks or targets are not missed.
It also means that records take less time. With dropdown options, checkboxes, pre-determined fields and free text, carers can record a lot more detail in a lot less time.
Also, for staff members where written records can be difficult to complete, they can take advantage of the speech-to-text option. This allows you to speak into the device and have your notes typed out in text for you.
Interestingly, recent research from Standford University found that speech-to-text is three times as fast as texting, and even more so than writing. The study found the following average words per minute:
What previously might have been recorded as “All ok” or “joined in with…”, soon becomes a more natural in-depth report of conversations, enjoyment and participation; all in a lot less time than they could achieve on paper.
Another way electronic care planning can save you time is in assessments. Scored assessments in particular are a great tool, but there is a lot of room for error when they become complicated, you have to complete calculations and you’re trying to do all of that at speed.
Electronically, these scored assessments can be created to automatically calculate for you. You simply have to put in the answers and the score will self-generate. Not only is that quicker for you, but it also reduces the chances of errors in your records.
One assessment that we find can be significantly faster to complete is the MUST (weight records). The self-calculating MUST assessment can work out the BMI, percentage weight loss and create a score using historical records, whilst pulling that information straight into a graph for you to see. Alone, that’s a saving of at least five minutes per assessment. Combine that with other assessments and those saved minutes soon start to add up.
The ability to personalise forms can also really cut down the time taken to complete. With paper, all options need to be present for the team to be able to fill in, whether they are relevant to the person or not. With the ability to remove non-applicable questions, we can speed up form completion by around 30%.
Without a doubt, the area where electronic recording really results in time being saved is during audits, reviews and inspections.
All of your information is recorded in one place and can be pulled at the touch of a button. Regardless of whether that’s information for what happened yesterday or three years ago, that information is easily recorded and quickly retrieved should you need it.
Ffion Roberts from Jewish Care noted herself in a recent webinar: “It’s only when you get your first complaint or investigation and you need to find historical information that you realise what would’ve taken me all day now takes me only ten minutes to locate. And it’s only taken as long as that because it was my first time”
Having all of your information accessible at all times, recorded accurately and stored in the correct location saves you invaluable time. We know from experience that care providers look back on their days of paper and can’t quite believe how much time they spent looking for information and preparing for inspections.
Another time-saving aspect of electronic records is if you manage more than one care location, and need the visibility of information across services. Without even accounting for the time-saved not having to travel to each service, being able to group together key records across services (i.e. accident records for group analysis) means that you quickly and simply see the information you need to submit provider information returns and complete audits.
Head office and management can have instant access to the type of information they need to see, without any extra time or effort from other members of the team. Quicker access, but also more efficient and sustainable.
So, answering the question of whether electronic is really quicker than paper? It absolutely is.
However, as you’ve no doubt picked up by now, it’s also about a lot more than just speed of recording. It’s having all of your information in one place, ensuring your whole team has the information they need to provide the care they’re giving and allowing you to be prepared and ready for any audits or inspections.
Care providers far and wide are already making the transition to digital care management; benefiting from higher quality care plans and notes, compliant and accurate audit trails and a greater degree of control across the management process.
These benefits are being felt at every level, from care managers and carers to the people they care for and their families. Here, we talk to three experienced care providers about the individual impact Nourish Care is having across the entire care service.
For carers, Nourish is empowerment at the point of care. By using well designed and easy to use applications on handheld devices, carers can record notes as they go.
Carers are thereby able to focus a lot more on the person they are working with, and encouraged to record the person-centred care notes that inspectors say distinguishes a care service. Recording notes alongside care also promotes greater clarity, adds useful context and ensures all information is recorded as soon as possible – not forgotten over the course of the day. Recording as they go, carers have the opportunity to really demonstrate the great quality of care they are giving.
Simon Francis, IT Project Manager at Silverline Care, commented: “The main thing for our carers is that the recording of notes is a lot easier. What they were doing beforehand was having to provide care and then try and hold all that information until the end of the shift. Care for residents is now much more to the point and accessible. There is better communication between staff and everyone involved in the client’s care can see what care has already been provided by others. This has made handover a lot easier. It also means input from the carers feeds directly into the care plan, meaning it’s updated within minutes of it taking place. Recording in real time means we don’t lose any important information.”
Paul Dennis-Andrews, Operations Manager at Encompass, has been working with the Nourish Care since spring 2016. He added: “The digital care management system has had a highly positive impact on the overall culture of our service – more than we ever would have thought. Staff who might have had difficulties with the written word are enthused by the ability to speak verbally into the devices to record information. It has been a refreshing and efficient change to a longstanding process of handwritten documentation.
“The large collection of paper files has been replaced with discrete modern handsets and tablets that staff can keep on their person, promoting highly person-centred support exactly how the individual would like to receive it. Documentation is recorded live and visible immediately to anyone with permission, and every aspect of the system is customisable and can be evolved to needs.”
Probably one of the biggest benefits for senior carers and care managers is that all information is in one place and accessible at any time. Care notes and assessments feed directly into the care plans and can be accessed by all who need to see them. This develops a culture of knowledge-sharing and allows for more effective care monitoring and visibility of critical information in real-time.
Digital care management also allows for instant reporting, which gives managers back their time to ‘walk the floor’ and interact with their staff and clients.
Megan Read, Care Home Manager of Grassington House emphasises how the digital system has improved her ability to manage: “Because I have a digital overview of real-time information I can easily monitor what is happening within the home. I can set up anything I want to be recorded, schedule things for the carers to be aware of and make sure that nothing is getting missed.
“For when I’m conducting care plan reviews, I can look at the logs that carers input to directly review and evidence any changes made. Beforehand, you would have had to look through endless files and pages, and you simply wouldn’t be able to go through it all. Now, I have no files in the office, everything is on the system; my office can literally move around with me anywhere.”
Simon agreed: “In leadership, the digital system is allowing managers to spot issues more quickly; alerts raised by carers come straight through to the manager, who can then respond quickly and with all the necessary information”.
Paul added: “Monitoring the quality of the support provided is much more efficient and less intrusive; utilising the Cloud to view live records. It is easier to ensure care is being given and support is provided how the individual would like to receive it. Teams are now positively communicating and sharing ideas, and where changes are required, managers can make these instantly, either across the organisation or simply for individual.”
Managers can also easily establish what information they want recorded, and monitor whether this is being followed. Megan states: “As a manager I can literally prompt what information I want recorded from carers and when. The amount of detail I can now see in recorded notes is amazing compared to what it used to be on paper.”
Simon has also experienced improved quality of care information: “During the transfer to digital care management, we’ve been able to see the quality of our care plans. It is an impossible feat to trail through reams of paper plans for every single resident, but with digital we can check care plans easily and demand the quality we want. It’s meant we can really see the overall process and make sure the right care is being delivered in line with the residents wishes.”
As Simon and Paul state, by recording care as you go, you create a more person-centred and accessible quality of care and you have more time available. Carers have the tools and information they need to provide personal and responsive care, and with extra time, can involve the resident directly and sociably in inputting the care notes.
Megan encourages her carers to be sociable and engage the residents when writing notes; this can mean sitting down with the resident, having a cup of tea and a real conversation about how the resident is doing. She has found that residents prefer the digital care management system once they understand it because carers are able to spend more time with them. Megan commented: “Carers can be sociable and engage with residents so they can contribute to their own notes, keeping them much more involved with their care. Beforehand, carers would have to spend time away from the residents at the end of the shift completing paperwork. The digital system is also really useful for bi-annual reviews; I can hold a meeting in the lounge and connect my laptop to the main screen so we can all see the information and have a really good chat about the care plan with the resident – it’s a lot more involved, but also efficient, and residents like to be able to see their care plans so easily.”
Care information recorded electronically is also much easier to share; not only with other medical professionals, but also with close friends and family. Innovative care providers can utilise existing resources and involve these other parties from the very beginning; you can enable a service user to design their own care plan, involve family members in the on-boarding process or allow informal carers to contribute directly to the care notes. Having a digital system opens up vast opportunities to get better connected with the whole circle of care.
By enabling better communication and ensuring information is shared with those who need to know, your care team will be more aware of the individual service user’s needs; and ultimately, informed care leads to better care.
Get in touch today to see how digital care management can work for you.
We spoke to Anne Weston from RHW and asked her what she would say the, “Top 10 essential care planning tips care providers need to consider when considering care plans and their management” would be. This article covers the areas she feels care providers can really make positive gains and improve the care they are able to provide.
The care planning process needs to follow an organised, systematic and deliberate format, which supports and guides care delivery. This means there should be a logical and systematic flow of the information, right through from the initial assessment to the final evaluation.
Want to know more about how our care plan software can work for you? Get in touch with our team today and book a personalised demo.
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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.
Digital transformation in the care sector is no longer the future and the benefits of the technological revolution have been felt far and wide across the sector.
Despite this, and the numerous benefits that technologies have shown in all areas of care, we are still seeing some reluctance towards digital transformation. While there is a common misconception that this is down to many care professionals fearing technology, this is simply not the case.
Past research from Skills for Care revealed that 95% of those working in the sector use digital technology in their work; and that the great majority are strongly positive about the potential of digital technology to improve efficiency and quality of care services. We also know that digital transformations are occurring, because we work with care providers up and down the country who are looking to digitise their care records every day.
It is, therefore, not the fear of technology that acts as the barrier, but, in fact, the fear of change.
In our experience, there is a clear misunderstanding between what the perceived barriers are to adopting technology, versus what the actual barriers are.
Few worry about job automation. There are many instances where advancements in technology remove the need for physical people – you only need to go to your local supermarket to see self-service check-outs, or go online to realise how much of your daily life you can manage without interacting with a person.
In the care sector, however, suggestions that Pepper the Robot will eventually replace carers are disregarded because there are two key things that computers cannot impersonate: social intelligence and emotional interpretation. The adoption of technology in care is not about replacing human interaction, but facilitating more of it through time-saving.
In contrast, the biggest barrier that we do hear care providers talk about is their concern that their staff will not have the necessary skills or inclination to adopt technology. In reality, we actually find the opposite is true.
According to Skills for Care’s The State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England, 2017, the average age of a care worker is 43 and a fifth are aged over 55. Data from Statista shows that in these age groups, smartphone ownership is at 88% and 47% respectively. So, the physical use of technology is not alien. With a new younger generation of care workers coming into the sector, all of whom have grown up using technology, confidence in ability is only likely to increase.
The level of notes we have to record in care is often a point of contention and this can also act as a barrier. However, the fact of the matter is that we have to record notes, because without doing so, we have no method of evidencing care. After all, ‘if it wasn’t written down, it didn’t happen’.
It’s not about working out how we can get away with recording less information, but instead how we can improve the amount of high-quality information we record in the least amount of time. This is exactly what digital solutions allow you to do.
Further to this, technology also allows you to make use of all of that recorded information, so that it can be better used to directly benefit care; rather than being filed away in a locked room.
The problem, usually, is not care team capability or the use of the actual technology, but how the digital transformation process is approached, and the tools and support provided during this process.
Going from paper to electronic care notes and care plans is not just a change in the physical process, but also to the content that is recorded. As a result, the approach to managing the change must address culture as much as technology.
In the latest issue of Care Management Matters, our Head of Digital Transformation, Luis Zenha Rela, explains how care providers can implement an effective change management process.
You can read the full article online here.
Digital transformation will never be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ scenario, and the power of technology comes just as much from how it is integrated as the functions of the technology itself.
Embrace this innovation, choose the right solution for you and give special consideration to the change management process, and you might be surprised by how much technology can enhance the quality of care your service provides.
As a whole, the care sector is yet to fully embrace the power of Digital Transformation and all of the benefits that can offer.
Working with Care Management Matters magazine, we shared our views on how to make the most of current digital technology within the care environment; to enhance the depth of notes and care plans, to allow a greater degree of control across the management process and ultimately support care providers and care teams to provide the best possible quality of care.
Gaining knowledge and insight from three care providers who have embraced Digital Transformation, the article answers some important questions. How does the digital system impact at the individual level? What impact will the digital system have on staff? And how will that impact the quality of care you provide?
The full article can be found here:
Below, however, we discuss our Five Top Tips for how you, as a care provider, can make the most of Digital Transformation.
Firstly, for a smooth, quick and efficient transition there will need to be strong board-level support to align all stakeholders. One key tip would be to develop an in-house ‘centre of excellence’ team of skilled staff that can focus on digitising and integration.
“To make the most out of electronic management, a provider must be committed to change, with a fully equipped staff team who believe in it” – Paul Dennis-Andrews, Operations Manager (Encompass)
The most successful organisations will be those that gain feedback direct from the care team. Listen to the everyday challenges your care team face. Evaluate and assess how these challenges can be tackled and overcome before you start the move to digital.
“Ensure the staff that will be using the system are also involved in the decision-making and transition. These are the people who will directly use the system and will raise queries or concerns. It has to be inclusive or it just doesn’t work properly” – Simon Francis, IT Project Manager (Silverline)
The transition to digital can be a lengthy process, but it is also an excellent opportunity to review your paperwork templates and quality of care plans. To allow for a smooth transition, it is crucial that you have your current records in order.
“Ensure that before making the transition to digital, your paper records are in good order. This will make the transition a lot smoother and a lot less stressful for your staff. If you are trying to get your paperwork in order at the same time as transition, you will create extra work for your team. You should also identify any differences between your paperwork and how that translates onto a system. If you can make that as close as possible, the transition will be streamlined and much easier for staff” – Simon Francis, IT Project Manager (Silverline)
The best digital care management system needs to be flexible and enhance your care team. It will support the great work your teams are currently doing, rather than forcing them to work in a different way, and it will offer more than simply a digital representation of your current records. Do your research, understand what it is you want from a system, and find a system that matches your needs.
“I work with a system that is responsive, adaptable, instant, consistent, person-centred and surprisingly cost efficient” – Paul Dennis-Andrews, Operations Manager (Encompass)
“We have been able to work directly with our system providers to give feedback and make direct changes; we very much feel like stakeholders in the system” – Simon Francis, IT Project Manager (Silverline)
Finally, if you’re going to transition to digital care management, you need to commit fully. Having some records digital and other paper causes confusion and extra work for staff members. It also undermines all of the benefits of full integration.
“It’s about having all your information in one place, which you simply can’t do on paper. If you’re going to use an electronic system, maximise it to its full potential and move everything over; certificates, audits, training. I have been able to stop writing my endless to-do lists because my system does that for me” – Megan Read
Have you embraced digital transformation? What did your experience teach you and what top tips would you share?
To find out more about how we can support you to make the most of Digital Transformation, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 023 80 002288.
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.