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Social care technology grew rapidly over the past 5 years. A variety of digital and technical solutions for the range of challenges that care providers face every day. In the rush to provide effective solutions suppliers created a new problem, replacing analogue silos of information with digital ones. The Nourish Partnership Programme addresses this problem by building a comprehensive digital estate of integration partners, that our users can review and apply to their service as required, so they can continue to provide outstanding care for their communities. 

The Language of Communication

At Nourish Care we are excited to announce our partnership with Altra, a wellbeing and engagement app. We have covered their activities, wellbeing, feedback and survey features previously. In our final blog we are going to cover our favourite focus of Altra, communication and community.  

Altra is an Irish company who were founded in 2019. Their name, directly translated from Gaeilge means ‘nurse’. In this linguistic spirit we would like to share with you another popular Irish phrase; Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine. It means ‘People live in each other’s shadows.’ Admittedly something is lost in the translation, but the heart of this message rings true regardless of tongue. We rely on each other for shelter, for strength, for community. 

Our family and friends play a crucial role in our lives. When a provider wants to help people to live their lives to the fullest, they must consider the involvement of family and friends, otherwise known as their circle of care. The closer connected someone remains with their circle of care, the more involved and engaged they feel in their own life. Altra gives users the tools to support circles of care, evidence engagement and promote connections on terms that both care providers and the people who draw upon their service can be comfortable with. 

Direct Feedback and Lived Experience

The Single Assessment Framework is the Care Quality Commission’s new approach to inspections. The first of the 6 new evidence categories of this framework is ‘People’s experience of health and care services’. In their own words: 

“This is all types of evidence from people who have experience relating to a specific health or care service, or a pathway across services. It also includes evidence from families, carers and advocates for people who use services.” 

Care providers who engage routinely with the people using their service and their circles of care benefit from a constantly updating record of the experiences of their care. Evidence of which impresses regulators regardless of geography. This information is invaluable for shaping your care, as well as your inspection rating. Altra provides a platform for wellbeing and activities information to be both recorded and shared. One that is rooted in lived experience, regulatory requirements and familial responsibility.  

Altra Communication

Family Matters

Family means ‘Ohana’, and ‘Ohana’ means nobody gets left behind. This is one of the many key life lessons imparted by Disney’s 2002 classic Lilo and Stitch. A loved one receiving care is a source of great relief for many families, but also one of great stress. The natural impulse to check in on them consistently is one we have all felt towards those we care about. While entrusting your loved one to receive care from a service is a source of immense relief, it is still only natural to want to check in on that service.  

Altra makes this process not only simple, but beneficial to all parties. It gives families the tools to share their perception and experience of the care their loved one is receiving with the care provider.  

There is an understandable apprehension amongst care providers when deciding how much to involve families and friends in the inner workings of their loved one’s care. The information care providers choose to share with a person’s circle of care needs to be detailed enough to satisfy their questions, while being digestible enough to calm their concerns. Altra provides a suite of features so you can directly link people into a circle of care, clearly illustrate the activities their loved one is engaged with and their level of wellbeing.  

The Family App

Altra provides a secure engagement application that allows care providers to share updates on the well-being of people utilising their service directly with their circle of care. This app works a bit like an Instagram feed updating the interested party with all the relevant information they need regarding their loved one’s care. 
 
Altra simplifies the process of engaging and collaborating with a person’s circle of care. You can share information with families in a variety of forms, including video, photos and direct messages. Providers use these different formats to paint a complete picture of the support they are providing, and the life the person using their service is living as a result.  

This app is not a one-way street either. It promotes engagement by allowing families to post updates for their loved ones as well. Altra enables these digital updates to be easily converted to physical printed newsletters, delighting the people you support. Specific information that speaks to the individuality of the people using your service and promotes the connections that make life worth living.  

Simplifying Visits

Altra goes beyond digital connections. Care home operators can use the app to set up ‘family events’. Invite relevant people to the event and it will display who is attending, who has responded and so on. Through this functionality Altra promotes visits in a way that easily feeds back into your existing system. You can include as much information about the planned visit as you want. This simplifies your organisational process while maintaining an up-to-date record of the visit for reviewing and reporting purposes. 

Of course, not everyone will be able to visit all the time. You can also arrange video calls through Altra to make sure that residents stay connected to their circle of care.  

The app even includes a concierge service. This can be used by the circle of care in a variety of ways, including ordering special requests from the kitchen (such as birthday cakes!) or booking specific outings and events for their loved one. All requests are easily recordable and reportable so you can efficiently factor them into your invoicing process. 

The Many Forms of Communication

Care comes in all shapes and sizes, and it casts a long shadow. One that people, families and communities use for shelter. The more involved everyone feels in the construction of this shelter, the more satisfaction everyone takes in its success. With Nourish and Altra you can build strong connections throughout your service, capitalising on the ones that are already there, and providing the foundations for many more.

Find Out More & Book a Demo

You can read more about Altra’s functionality:
Activities and Wellbeing
Feedback and Surveys

Social care technology grew rapidly over the past 5 years. A variety of digital and technical solutions for the range of challenges that care providers face every day. In the rush to provide effective solutions suppliers created a new problem, replacing analogue silos of information with digital ones. The Nourish Partnership Programme addresses this problem by building a comprehensive digital estate of integration partners, that our users can review and apply to their service as required, so they can continue to provide outstanding care for their communities. 

Raise a Chorus

Communication is a two-way street. The ability to engage with a person utilising your service’s circle of care is fast becoming one of the most sought-after features for digital platforms in social care. Care providers who involve the families of the people utilising their service gain a wealth of benefits: more engaged community, more informed circles of care and, as reflected in the Care Quality Commission’s single assessment framework, a more impressed regulator. That’s why we at Nourish Care are so excited to announce our partnership with Altra, a wellbeing and engagement app! 

Altra boasts a range of features that give care providers the tools to engage with families directly. This feedback and survey functionality keeps the people who matter to your community close to the things that matter to them. Altra delivers a combination of features. These enable you to drive continuous improvement, capture important feedback and provide detailed evidence to your regulator.  

Experience and Evidence

The single assessment framework reflects a new impetus from the CQC to be more person-centred. Not only in the care provided, but in the access granted to that care, and the openness to input and feedback on that care. This impetus is reflected in regulators across the UK, best described in the tenants of socialcarefuture’s ‘Making it Real’ campaign. 

The CQC specifically named three evidence categories under their new single assessment framework defined by feedback. Feedback from partners, feedback from staff and leaders and people’s experience of health and care services. Regulators, commissioners and legislators share this focus on lived experience. Altra’s suite of engagement features helps providers maintain a continuous loop of feedback from their communities. One that satisfies both regulators and the people utilising your service.  

Quality evidence is the best way to define your care to the satisfaction of your regulator. The act of gathering this evidence consistently helps to define and ensure satisfaction for your team, community and wider circles of care. 

Feedback and Surveys

Getting Better All the Time

Continuous improvement is driven by continuous communication. When care providers open themselves up to routine feedback and engage directly with people at all levels of their service they enjoy a wealth of benefits. It is an intrinsically person-centred approach to care. One that requires both a sincere willingness to drive change and a conscious commitment to putting in the work. 

Altra simplifies this process. Through their surveys, feedback forms and circle of care platform access they turn the awkward into the actual. Gathering the feedback you need to continually improve your service in line with your communities’ experiences becomes a straightforward undertaking. One that is centralised in your Altra system and easily reviewed and implemented.  

With the heightened focus on promoting person-centred care sweeping across social care it is more important than ever to capture feedback. Of course, given the considerable pressures that care providers regularly face this undertaking needs to be as immediate and efficient as possible.  

The ability to gather and act upon the information your community gives you improves both the quality of your care, as well as the perception your regulator views you from. Evidence is crucial for properly demonstrating your outstanding care, and with Altra that evidence is available at the touch of a button. 

Forms for the Whole Family

No two care providers are totally alike. The key motivator for gathering feedback from your community is to illustrate their unique and individual needs, wants and ambitions. As a result, no ready-made form will ever fully satisfy the specifics of your service, or the people who draw upon it to live their lives to the fullest. 

Altra addresses this challenge with their fully customisable survey builder. This functionality gives you the freedom to wrap your feedback around your service. Focus your inquiries on the things that really matter to the people utilising your care. These surveys can then be tied into other aspects of Altra to produce positive, person-centred results. 

One example of this in action is the menu-sharing functionality. With Altra, you can set up a survey that regularly reviews your meal plans and how much people are enjoying them. You can even add sections for suggestions. This creates a feedback loop that continually improves the quality of life for people with your support. Each incremental change closer ties your service to the people who provide, use and rely upon it. Change doesn’t have to happen all at once. It is a process. One that works better the more perspectives you include in it. 

Efficient and Effective Feedback

One of the quickest and easiest ways to gather feedback in Altra is through polls. These polls can be set up succinctly and easily accessed in your posts on Altra. Invite members of the people you support’s circle of care to engage with these polls through the app to increase the width of your feedback gathering.  

Polls give you a clear overview of general sentiment towards a specific aspect of your service. This can relate to activities you are engaging in, proposed changes to your care and whatever else your team finds beneficial to post about. While more in-depth interviews and surveys can provide a wealth of information. This can be unwieldy at times and difficult to decipher. Especially in the context of increasing workforce pressures for your team.  

With polls, you can get a concise and clear understanding of the experiences and perspectives you need. This benefit soothes both ways, as many members of a circle of care are hard-pressed for free time themselves. Polls give them an efficient and effective way to stay engaged in the care of their loved ones and make them feel listened to and respected. 

Care Home Community

To be a community is to be involved in each other’s lives. Altra makes this process simpler than ever before. It turns the ambitious and at times intimidating call for greater family involvement in care into an easily achievable, and evidencable, undertaking. So that no matter where we start, we are all heading in the same direction. 

Find Out More and Book a Demo

You can read more about Altra’s functionality:
Activities and Wellbeing
Communication and Family Engagement

Community is at the heart of quality care. At Nourish Care we are indebted to our community of users, one that spans a range of care types and locations in the UK. We know that the best results come from clear communication and committed collaboration. Our users frequently provide the inspiration and insight that drives the development of our platform. So, it is only natural that we are always looking for opportunities to connect directly with our users. This summer we welcomed over 70 of our valued users to The Gherkin in London for our customer conference. The conference took place over an afternoon and featured idea sharing, our latest product road map and some inspirational talks from guests and Nourish leaders. 

Welcome Drinks at The Gherkin

The best place to start is always at the beginning, and there’s no better beginning than a drinks reception. The conference kicked off at lunchtime with a selection of drinks and ‘mocktails’ provided by the lovely Gherkin staff. It takes two separate lifts to get to the iconic floor 39, known locally as ‘The Helix’. The magnificent view of London’s skyline slowly started to fill with chatter as the attendees made their way up. The sound of conversation quickly filled the floor and provided a wonderful soundtrack to the view. 

Keynote Speaker: Dr Waheed Arian

The Gherkin Dr Waheed Arian speaking

Once everyone had proceeded upstairs to ‘The Iris’, the famous glass dome at the top of the Gherkin for lunch, a delectable chicken ballotine followed by a lemon and ginger posset, it was time for the presentations. The first speaker of the afternoon was the incredible Dr Waheed Arian. The doctor, humanitarian, and innovator shared his story with the audience and his perspective on ‘the business of compassion’. Everyone in the room shared his vision of providing health and care support through passion. He detailed the sense of pride and joy we all receive from working with people, and implored attendees not to fall victim to overt self-criticism at our perceived failures. The last question, ‘what does care mean to you?’ carried with it an implicit instruction, ‘Do not lose sight of what you mean to others’. 

An Insight into Nourish

We all took a break following Dr Arian’s evocative presentation. Upon returning it was time for the Nourish representatives to take to the stage.

First up was Nourish founder Nuno Almeida. Nuno took us through a brief history of the past few years, the pandemic, supply chain issues around the world and reassured us all with the fact that quite frankly, ‘there is no return to normal’. This stark and honest reflection underpinned Nuno’s entire talk. In a world of constant change (did you know there’s 70 elections happening around the world this year?) we turn to the people we trust for support. This rings true in technology as it does in care. Reiterating Nourish’s focus on building our team to be the right people for the challenge ahead, Nuno painted a picture of a bright, and collaborative future. 

The Future of Product Design

Next up was our new Chief Product Officer Matthew Stewart to discuss our new product agenda. Matthew brings a wealth of experience to his role and demonstrated how this is already benefiting Nourish. The talk focused on the key areas of our new product agenda, and how we will be moving forward. Crucially, the session ended with an open Q&A to promote collaboration and idea sharing. Several attendees shared their perspectives and helped further focus the product agenda as we move forward. Co-production is a vital tool for the future development of care, and this is especially true for the development of care technology.  

Nourish Partnership Programme

The development of care technology does not have to be a lonely road, as we learned in the last session of our conference. Our Director of Partnerships and Business Engagement Denise Tack detailed the motivation and success of our emerging Nourish Partnership Programme. She was joined on stage by Camascope’s Customer Director Saurabh Shah and PainChek’s Head of Business Development Tandeep Gill. They explained exactly why our Partnership Programme is ‘not just an API hub’ but a collaborative undertaking. One built on a foundation of philosophical and technological alignment. We look for partners whose background, motivation and vision match ours at Nourish as well as their technology.

The Gherkin Nourish Partnership Programme talk

A Great Inaugural Event in The Gherkin

It was a great day for sharing visions all round. We are deeply grateful to everyone who made the trip to The Gherkin to join us for the day. It was a fantastic time overlooking London Town, learning about our users’ worlds and sharing our plans with them. We can’t wait for the next one, and plans are already in place to hold it in a more northern location so we can engage with our community across the UK.  

The day was a reminder of the size, breadth and impact of the community we are a part of, and the joy and purpose we feel working with you. 

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Social care technology grew rapidly over the past 5 years. A variety of digital and technical solutions for the range of challenges that care providers face every day. In the rush to provide effective solutions suppliers created a new problem, replacing analogue silos of information with digital ones. The Nourish Partnership Programme addresses this problem by building a comprehensive digital estate of integration partners, that our users can review and apply to their service as required, so they can continue to provide outstanding care for their communities. 

A Partnership in Communication

Communication drives care. We see this reflected in care interactions every day, as well as the new single assessment framework from the Care Quality Commission. Our ability to understand, to support and to elevate each other is born from our ability to communicate. That’s why we at Nourish Care are so excited to announce our partnership with Altra, a wellbeing and engagement app!  

With a suite of features that champion person-centred care, lived experience and wellbeing, Altra offers care providers the tools to transform their communication.  

Wellbeing Promotion

The 2016 Care Act charges providers with the responsibility to ‘promote wellbeing whenever they carry out any care and support functions for individuals.’ A substantial assignment contained in 13 words. The result of this legislation has proven unlucky for some, as the task of promoting wellbeing is as multi-faceted as it is vague.  

Outstanding providers know that the best way to promote wellbeing is to promote communication. Involving everyone, from every level of your service, is the best way to ensure you stay connected to people’s wellbeing.  Altra empowers users to promote the individuality of the people utilising their service, without significantly increasing the workload on their team or the burden on the people drawing on their care.  

Ease and Efficiency

Altra gives you the tools to capture pertinent information at the point of care. Carers can post photos, videos and notes within the Altra app to showcase the activities you provide and how people have participated. You can even include polls and tag loved ones, so you get direct feedback from the relevant people. The ability to capture sentiment on each activity gives you a primary source to understand the experiences of your community. This provides an invaluable line of communication to ensure your care is person centred and your people feel valued and listened to. 

Altra also appreciates the less time you spend on admin the more time you can focus on communicating with your community. The fluid integration between Nourish and Altra removes the need for duplication of effort. These benefits will be felt throughout your organisation, and Altra really shines when supporting Activities Co-ordinators. 

Altra Feedback and Surveys

Activities and Actualisation

An Activities Co-ordinator plays a crucial role in care homes. On the surface it may seem like a simple enough role. In reality, it carries a depth of meaning and purpose for the people utilising your service We are engaged through action and interactivity. Whether it is music, art or exercise we all have our preferences. What we are really talking about is the act of living, of experiencing the world on our terms and expressing ourselves as people through our actions. An Activity Co-ordinator is an orchestrator of experiences, an engagement conductor, someone who provides those with lived experience of care the experience of living life the way they want, in a place they can call home. 

Altra understands this role’s depth and complexity and supports it with specific and intuitive functionality. You can specify your activities, build calendars and review events afterwards to gauge their impact and continuously improve.  

Save the Dates

Another key functionality that separates Altra from other communication tools is the specificity and customisability of their activities calendar.  Simplify your processes with repeating events and the ability to schedule and share your daily and weekly activity calendars in advance. You can store a wealth of useful information in each activity, including start time, attendance tracker, location, colour coding and more. It is easy to keep family members involved with family events and to give them visibility of how their loved ones have engaged with activities through the updates they will see in their Altra family app.

A Well of Wellbeing Ideas

Great activities don’t just fall out of the sky though. Every Activity Co-ordinator has spent a decent portion of their time wracking their brains and the internet for inspiration. Altra simplifies this with a robust and routinely updated wellbeing hub.  

This library contains exercise videos, colouring, quiz games, puzzles and more. Don’t worry, this goes beyond just suggesting good ideas for your community. Any additional resources you need for an activity in the library are available to download. Like images for colouring, questions for the quiz or guidance for the proposed exercises from a qualified physiotherapist. Altra gives you the content to put these activities into action, reducing admin and organisation time for your team.  

A mobile phone shows Altra's wellbeing library

Care Home Communication

With 1,000s of activities to choose from, which are updated on a weekly basis. There will always be a fresh idea to energise your home and promote wellbeing. Each activity is easily reportable. With the option to engage your team, your community and their circles of care as you choose. 

If knowledge is power, then communication is power sharing, and Altra gives you the tools to do both. From your administrator to your aunty, Altra keeps the right people informed. With the right information, to promote the engagement, effectiveness and efficiency of your activities. 

Find Out More & Book a Demo

You can read more about Altra’s functionality:
Feedback and Surveys
Communication and Family Engagement

Social care technology grew rapidly over the past 5 years. A variety of digital and technical solutions for the range of challenges that care providers face every day. In the rush to provide effective solutions suppliers created a new problem, replacing analogue silos of information with digital ones. The Nourish Partnership Programme addresses this problem by building a comprehensive digital estate of integration partners, that our users can review and apply to their service as required, so they can continue to provide outstanding care for their communities. 

Communication is Key to Being Person-centred

‘We need to talk’ – a sentence that sends shivers down spines in bedrooms and boardrooms alike. Feedback acquisition, data gathering, internal research—whatever you name the process, conversation is critical to success. In social care, conversations are a fundamental part of providing quality, person-centred care. Care providers learn the best information about the people who utilise their service by engaging directly with them. Our partners, ImproveWell, build upon this opportunity by offering simple, easy-to-apply engagement tools for your workforce, clients and wider stakeholders.

Knowledge is power and ImproveWell gives you the power to prepare for inspections, increase employee engagement and drive qualified, person-centred improvement across your service.  

Preparing for the CQC

The Care Quality Commission in England has been rolling out its new inspection process since November 2023. The ‘single assessment framework’ is designed to put people at the heart of the inspection process. While the key categories remain the same; safe, caring, efficient, well-led and responsive, the methods for evidence gathering are updated. There are six categories for evidence that inspectors will now require.

The first three – ‘people’s experience of health and care services’, ‘feedback from staff and leaders’ and ‘feedback from partners’ – are all different forms of conversations. ImproveWell helps your team prepare for these conversations. By making real-time feedback simple and a regular occurrence in your care community by providing a mechanism for feedback anytime, anywhere. You can gain a clearer, and more regular insight into the experiences of your organisation at every level. Without even getting into the results of your engagement activities. Simply introducing the process to your teams and community will make them more familiar and, in doing so, more comfortable with it.

The latter three categories – observation, processes and outcomes – can all be improved through utilising the results of ImproveWell’s functionality.  ImproveWell’s solution can be set up in a bespoke way to suit the needs of your team and service. Everyone can suggest ideas for improvement, share how their workday is going, and complete tailored pulse surveys – 24/7. Insights from wider stakeholder groups can be gathered and an AI-powered data dashboard enables group and organisational leads to monitor real-time data, track workforce sentiment, prioritise quality improvement efforts, measure change, and publish reports to complete the feedback loop.

Examples of ImproveWell Driving Positive Change

The Maternity Department at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust enjoyed notable improvements to their workforce engagement and morale. After the first phase of ImproveWell’s introduction in the Maternity Department. 75% of staff reported feeling able to improve their area of work, compared to the 53% scored by the Trust as a whole. (2018 NHS staff survey) Moreover, over 85% of users of ImproveWell felt it empowered them to implement ideas for change.

This is what makes these tools so relevant to inspections outside of England as well. All inspectors will engage with your staff in one form or another as part of their process. Whether it’s in their ear or over their shoulders. The more familiar the workforce is with being listened to and respected by senior management, the better they can provide and evidence high-quality care.

The Maternity Department at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust were able to improve their CQC rating from ‘Inadequate’ in 2017 to ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2018 following their implementation of Improvewell. In November 2019, the Maternity Department won the International Maternity Expo Transformation Innovation Award to recognise achievements made through ImproveWell, and in their most recent inspection in February 2023, they had improved the ratings for ‘Safe’ and ‘Well-Led’ to ‘Good’.

You can read more about ImproveWell supporting services to improve their CQC ratings here

The Importance of Workforce Engagement

Workforce engagement is crucial in social care. We know that high job vacancies and staff turnover rates are longstanding issues for care providers. One of the surest ways to draw a big audience at any care event is to talk about recruitment and retention. It’s obvious if you have attended any of these talks in the past few years. You will know more and more providers are looking to improve their staff retention rates by increasing their employee engagement.

 “We’ve learnt that everyone would like more money but surprisingly it’s not as important as being happy in their work. Support and development of people is held in higher regard.” Residential care provider, Claxton House, Atlanta Healthcare.

The best way to support and develop people is to listen to them. Of course, that’s generally much easier said than done. ImproveWell turns recording, reviewing and actioning ideas from your workforce into a smooth, seamless process. The detail and specificity of ImproveWell’s functionality enables you to ask the right questions. Crucially, the AI-powered data dashboard provides an easy-to-use, insightful overview of the information you have gathered, so you can use frontline feedback for maximum effectiveness. Most care providers conduct internal surveys with their team, with varying results. ImproveWell enables you to take these findings further, and action them to the benefit of your service by empowering your team and wider community to take a more active role in their development, in both a personal and professional capacity.

Examples of Qualified Improvement

Health and care providers who use ImproveWell to engage with their community have noticed benefits in four key areas. The first, and most direct benefit, is the increase in staff wellbeing and morale. It is only natural that satisfaction increases and turnover decreases when people feel like they play an active and important role in their workplace.  

Red heart Red heart Quote
“In the last 12 months, we haven’t lost a single staff member, and recruitment has been successful. There’s a change in how others perceive our team and it’s a place where people want to come to work.”
Leigh Ferris Rosebrook PICU, Senior Staff Nurse

Users also experience a notable quality improvement, in terms of the care they are able to provide. Primary sources are always the best place to start when looking to improve your processes. It is the people who are directly involved who have the deepest understanding, whether they are providing care, utilising care, or are a member of the community in which you operate. A wealth of insight is unlocked when you empower your community to be actively responsible for their care.

 “It’s the quick fixes that make the difference,” Nicole Lee, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Burns Service, Burns Matron.

This same logic applies when it comes to your service’s operational and cost efficiency. It is impossible to fully understand something by looking at it from the top down. All leaders know they need multiple perspectives to understand their organisation. Increase your operational and cost efficiency by creating a simple route for innovation. Carers are known for making a little go a long way, harness their ingenuity and experience and the rewards will soon follow.

Improvewell for your Community

People are the pulse of our communities. Engage directly with them to best understand the world in which your service exists. The concept behind micro-improvements is rooted in experience and the belief that with the right knowledge, you have the power to change the world. Maybe not the whole thing, but definitely your own. However first, we need to talk.

Learn More about ImproveWell