Jonathan Papworth, co-founder and director of Person Centred Software (sponsors of the Care Innovator Award) provides an insight into how technology can help to drive outstanding care.
Every week there seems to some new technology to revolutionise the way we live and work. As technology floods our everyday lives, how does this translate into technology that can really benefit and improve the quality of care for residents as well as empower staff and support a successful care home business?
Social care is one of the most highly regulated industries in the UK in order to protect vulnerable people and ensure that they receive the highest quality of care. In CQC’s latest KLOEs there is a question (E1.3) that specifically asks how technology and equipment is used to enhance care.
The right technology can help managers and care home operators to shape the way they deliver and improve the quality of care, particularly when applied to areas that require improvement or to meet the care needs and preferences of residents. So rather than choosing just one solution, consider each as a source of risk reduction, and a way to become a more proactive and responsive care provider.
For the carers
Whilst many innovations are rightly focused on improving residents’ experiences of person-centred care, those who provide the care should not be overlooked.
Some of the latest software is aimed at improving carers’ working conditions. For example, mobile-based services enable staff to evidence and record care interactions on-the-go, cutting paperwork for each carer by at least an hour a day and giving them more time to spend with residents.
With this electronic real-time recording, managers have access to detailed information that accurately reflects the care that was given. They can audit care activities against plans far more effectively compared to paper reports. For instance, staff can accurately and immediately evidence fluids they have offered, and what residents have drunk to reduce the risk of dehydration. By effectively monitoring fluids electronically, one care home group reduced falls by 33%.
Another care home group found that since using electronic evidence of care and care planning, the staff retention rate increased by 40% for carers due to improved staff morale.
Transparency for families
In today’s connected world, digital records are likely to become even more important as care homes come under greater scrutiny from family, friends and the media. They are demanding transparency about how loved ones are being cared for and treated.
One benefit of digital records is the ability to offer a secure portal for friends and family of residents in care homes to share messages and photos electronically. And if appropriate, relatives can view care updates and electronically sign care plans. This not only dispels families’ fears but keeps them more connected to a loved one’s new stage of life. It also gives value back to carers, since it shows and recognises everything that they do, from major activities to the smallest acts of kindness.
Other innovations that benefit both carers and residents are applied technologies that can be worn by residents to monitor a whole range of medical and physical conditions and ensure optimum wellbeing, such as heart monitors. Another is acoustic monitoring which replaces night checks by continuously monitoring of residents and alerting staff when needed.
Not least, smartphones can now access the very latest artificial Intelligence and facial recognition technology so care providers can monitor pain in people who are non-verbal, such as those living with dementia.
The future for technology in social care is both urgent and exciting, but we must never forget that people need to interact with people and any new technology must ensure carers have more time for personal care with the focus always on improving both the lives of carers and those receiving care.
If you would like to discuss how technology can benefit your care home, or to request a demo, contact Person Centred Software on 01483 357657 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.personcentredsoftware.com