Embrace the changes that 2015 brings

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As someone who has worked for a number of homecare providers I know that legal and statutory inspection changes inevitably create extra work. My passion has always been to bring homecare and technology closer - driving innovations that make homecare delivery safer and more efficient.

Caring for care workers

Making sure care workers get a fair deal is something the Government, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and many industry stakeholders are passionate about. providers will need to be more accountable and ensure at the very least they are paying in accordance with national minimum wage and other statutory regulations. Using scheduling and monitoring data can help you establish whether your care workers are being appropriately remunerated for their visits and time spent travelling. Not doing the calculationswill not be an acceptable defence and providers need to prepare themselves for extra scrutiny.

Evidencing your service

As CQC continue to roll-out their new inspections, providers need robust systems and procedures in place to evidence the thirteen fundamental standards. How well a Provider complies impacts upon the eventual published rating they receive.

There are many areas where technology can assist. For example an automated scheduling tool not only saves time but helps ensure the service is safe, with care visits being allocated to staff holding appropriate skills and availability.  CQC want to see that rotas are organised and correct, so a good scheduling system will factor in appropriate travel time between calls as well as automatically optimise staff schedules.

CQC will be looking to see that continuity of care and missed calls are being managed. This is one of the most tangible benefits of electronic care monitoring, empowering providers with real-time data so they can take action if visits start to run late or get missed.

Maintaining the relationship with self-funders

As councils calculate the costs of implementing the Care Act funding reforms, there are inevitably questions being asked about what will happen to self-funders when they reach the cap on care costs? As a provider you may have concerns over your long term relationship with self-funders.  

I’ve recently led some innovative research and data modelling using actual self-funder data, and the results were extremely surprising. In a typical leafy (affluent) suburban Borough Council only 3% of current self-funders are expected to reach the cap. Furthermore, we found that for these elderly homecare users, they will become eligible for state funding support in approximately 8 years. This is significant news for providers as it means you should continue to ‘own’ the relationship with your self-funding clients. CM2000 will help you do this by working with councils to ensure electronic care monitoring records can be submitted to the self-funder’s care accountas robust auditable evidence.

Managing homecare provision is a tough business – so let technology take some of the strain. Make it your new year’s resolution to see how technology can support the crucial work being done by your office and field-based staff.

Mark Thomas is managing director of Care Management 2000

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