Whats the real impact of adopting an electronic care planning solution?
We know more with Nourish Care - Richmondwood Care Home
In the residential care home sector, completing paperwork has long been a laborious task, often left until the end of shifts. This was certainly the case at family-owned Richmondwood Residential Care Home in Charminster. But when you walk through the homely hallways and into the lounge today, there’s no frantic scribbling to be heard; only the sound of happy chatter, the hum of Dickinson’s Real Deal and the occasional chirpy bark from Sophie, one of the resident’s Toy Poodle.
The carers station is free of piles of paperwork. They are instead going about their daily care with smiles on faces and small devices in hands.
Like any care home, Richmondwood used to have hundreds of paper records to complete, update and store. Care plans, risks assessments, daily notes, weight charts, fluid charts, nutrition charts; the list seemed endless.
Carers would have to sit down at the end of their shift and spend at least half an hour writing their notes, taking precious time away from the people they were caring for. Lucy Glazer, who co-manages the home with her sister Holly, said: “They would have to free write a paragraph about the care provided in the morning, afternoon and evening covering everything from assistance required and food and fluid intake to mood and activity involvement. They would then need to store these in various different folders; folders which senior carers would later have to sift through in order to review and update the required care plans.”
For Lucy, going digital was a no-brainer but Holly wasn’t so sure.
Fear of going paperless
“I was very hesitant about moving from paper to electronic records,” said Holly. “I’ll admit I’m somewhat of a technophobe and liked the comfort of having something I could physically touch. You knew that if you wrote something down in ink, you could always see it. Of course, a piece of paper could be lost or damaged, but I was just worried about records being deleted.”
Fortunately, Lucy was very thorough in her search for a supplier and knew exactly what she wanted from an electronic system. When she came to understand who Nourish Care were and what our system could do, she set about alleviating her sister’s concerns.
“I’d been super keen to go digital for ages but nothing was right in the market,” added Lucy. “When I discovered Nourish Care, their solution was just what I was looking for. It would allow our senior management team to create digital care plans and our carers to make their daily notes on the go with small handheld devices similar to Smart Phones. Being completely secure, nothing could be deleted and everything was instantly searchable in one place. It was great.”
Working closely with the team at Nourish Care, Lucy and Holly were able to configure the system so that their care plans and daily notes were tailored to the care they provide and to the individual residents’ needs. Carers now see a personalised timeline of care tasks for each resident, so that they can easily see which tasks are due when and add in the care notes directly after the care is provided; either by typing or talking into the device.
Having all of the information accurately recorded in real-time and instantly accessible means that the carers in the home are kept informed of any changes throughout a shift. Not only does this save the carers time, but the senior management team too. Lucy and Holly now see a real-time overview of their home and can search for notes at the click of a button. This makes dealing with external enquiries from health care professionals, family members and CQC inspectors that much simpler.
Care plans are now also reviewed more frequently, because all the information from the carers automatically feeds into the plans and reports can be generated instantly; changes in health or mood are therefore more easily tracked. The quality of the information recorded has improved significantly and as a result, so has the quality of care provided.
Lucy said: “The biggest difference is knowing more. We now record more data than we ever did before and therefore we have more knowledge. It’s definitely improved accuracy. Just being able to manage fluid charts more effectively has had a huge impact. We can input residents’ fluid requirements individually and then a reminder will pop up on the system every couple of hours with fluid levels. It’s the same with MUST scores too. Before, you only had to make one tiny mistake in the equation for the score to be wrong, but that’s all done automatically. It’s amazing.”
Since using the Nourish Care System, the team at Richmondwood have freed up an entire cupboard, which once stored paperwork, and filled it with games and puzzles for the residents. They’ve saved financially on shredding costs, and deciphering hand-written notes or spilling coffee on paper forms are no longer issues. More importantly, they have improved the quality of care they are able to provide and the residents and staff are happier for it.
Lucy added: “There has been a benefit at every level. Yes, it saves time, but it’s what we are able to do with that time that really matters. Physical care and human interaction can never be replaced and the idea of using technology is to give carers more time to actually care. Using Nourish Care’s system also provides Holly and I with peace of mind as we can access the information from anywhere, even when we are not in the home, and provide support to the team if we need to.”