Date: August 2017
The provider was innovative and creative and strived to improve the quality of people’s lives. They had researched and reflected on how an internationally recognised provider of excellence in dementia care provided care. They had implemented an electronic care planning system that ensured staff and management had access to the most up-to-date information at the press of a button and enabled relatives to be fully informed and involved in their relations’ care.
The provider had recently implemented an electronic care planning tool, which was designed to facilitate staff’s record keeping and monitoring of the quality of the service people received. All staff had hand-held mobile devices so they had instant access to people’s care plans and individual risks at the touch of a screen. Staff told us they liked the new system. An electronic alert sent directly to staff’s handheld devices ensured staff were reminded to take time-critical actions related to people’s health. For example, actions by staff to minimise risks related to specific-time medicines administration, poor food or fluid intake and risks of skin becoming sore or damaged.
The system prompted staff to make sure checks had been carried out for people who stayed in their rooms, as identified in their care plan. Duty managers monitored the quality of the service through the same electronic care planning system, which showed a red flag if specified, planned care interventions were ‘late’. A service manager told us, “Any omissions, ‘late or asleep’ records are red flagged. At our three daily handover meetings, staff check the red flagged ‘hotlist’ and decide on actions needed. There is a footnote facility to explain why items on the hotlist are closed.” The electronic care planning system enable the management team to monitor if people were not weighed regularly, did not eat well, or if their weight or fluid intake dropped out of an appropriate range for their height, age and health condition. The provider was able to demonstrate that people had benefited from the electronic monitoring system. For example, by constantly monitoring how much people drank, staff had been able to encourage people to drink the right amount for their height and weight. Management reports showed that staff at Westlands had successfully encouraged 94% of people to drink at least their target amount during April 2017, which reduced the risk of people becoming dehydrated or of developing infections.
The provider’s operations team monitored management reports across the group of homes three times a day, seven days a week and sent reminders to all the registered managers requesting explanations for any gaps or omissions compared to people’s care plans. All the information staff entered on the system was instantly available to the duty manager, which meant they were able to continuously check that people received the care they needed. We saw the system required staff to record details such as the person’s response to care and support, their moods and appetites and how much they drank. The system supported the registered manager’s monthly audits of people’s medicines, complaints, accident and incident records and housekeeping records. The ultimate goal of the electronic care planning system is the ability to monitor whether staff take the agreed actions that are critical to a person’s health or wellbeing.
The electronic care planning system provided a new opportunity for relatives to stay fully informed and involved in their relations care if they were unable to visit regularly. Relatives had a password protected access to an on-line ‘gateway’ into their relation’s care plan and daily records. Relatives were able to talk to staff through an associated messaging service, so were able to obtain immediate reassurance from staff if they had any concerns about their relation’s care, support or health.