Despite the challenges of the Covid crisis, care providers everywhere are utilising technology and innovation to attain extraordinary outcomes. Live-in care provider, The Good Care Group, have managed to achieve just that, as Head of Quality Assurance, Emma Sadler explains
The Good Care Group is an award-winning provider of 1:1 live-in care services. 60% of clients are living with a form of dementia as well as other conditions including Parkinson’s and stroke.
The Covid crisis has been, as for most, a difficult and worrying time for our clients and professional carers. However, despite the challenges we have been able to adjust ways of working, harnessing technology and creativity to keep people safe and well at home. Home care is lower risk than other alternatives, such as group living settings like care homes because carers live with the client, isolating alongside them.
Throughout the crisis we have kept our clients and carers up to date by sharing regular email bulletins and hosting live Q&A sessions using ‘Google Hangout’. Recognising the potential impact of lockdown on health and wellbeing we’ve established partnerships to offer initiatives designed to boost morale. Carers have been granted 3 months of free access to Rosemary Online, a fitness and wellbeing provider offering exercise videos, healthy eating recipes, and support forums. All staff and clients have also been gifted 2 months free access to PressReader, an online library of over 7,000 magazines and newspapers.
As an entirely digital company we’ve been able to utilise technology to keep people connected, as well as to maintain stringent monitoring and supervision. Our online platform ‘the Carer Community’ features a social forum where carers can connect with one another despite the physical distances between them. Carers report feeling less isolated with this system in place. They can share recipes, ideas of things to do with their clients, and rooms for rent in the local area. We’ve seen some incredible examples of care professionals going above and beyond recently; they’ve hosted family quizzes using ‘Zoom’, organised virtual birthday parties and celebrations at home.
Families are also able to check on their loved ones, with all documentation available to them on the ‘Client Community’. Since lockdown we’ve seen usage soar; the average number of log-ins each day is 50 with people logging in from around the globe. Relatives take comfort in knowing at the touch of a button how Mum is spending her day.
Carers record all care documentation including daily care notes and food/ fluid charts electronically. An online MAR chart (eMAR) ensures medication is safely managed. In-built safety mechanisms reduce the risk of errors and rates (3.3%) are much lower than in care homes (22%). With the Carer Community platform Care Managers are able to complete their usual checks remotely; they can see that the client is well hydrated, if petty cash stocks are sufficient, and can monitor incidents. All the data captured helps us to monitor health outcomes and ensures that we focus any necessary improvement efforts in the right place.
Through our remote monitoring and online data capture we’ve been able to demonstrate some extraordinary outcomes. Having a dedicated in-house Occupational Therapist ensures that clients are less likely to fall – 50% of people aged 80 and over fall at least once a year, for TGCG clients it’s 6%. We’ve also placed huge emphasis on reducing infections as we recognise the devastating impact they can have for the elderly. Having introduced urinalysis testing emergency intervention for UTIs emergency call-outs reduced by a staggering 68%. With chest infections hospital admission rates have decreased 28% year on year. We’ve recently collaborated with Feebris, a health-technology provider with the aim of reducing chest infection rates further. With Feebris carers are provided with handheld medical devices which capture and interpret abnormalities in vital signs using powerful AI algorithms.
During these unprecedented times we are proud to have been able to maintain evidenced based outcomes. Whilst technology and innovations have undoubtedly had a large part to play in this, our greatest innovation remains our incredible carers, who even at this time of extreme adversity, continue to put our clients first and foremost.