Graham Care Homes improve medication safety and save time with ATLAS eMAR and Person Centred Software’s Digital Care Planning System



Case Study

Mitigating risk, saving time and improving medication management

About Graham Care Homes 
Graham Care Homes is a family-owned group of seven purpose-built nursing and residential care homes caring for over 500 residents in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. The service is owned and run by Ernie Graham, whose aim is to provide long-term sustainable care for people, including those living with dementia.  
Graham Care Homes is constantly thinking about how to improve the care they provide and is not afraid of changing to new and specialist technologies. 

Ernie Graham, owner of Graham Care Homes, discusses the importance of data and how they combined ATLAS eMAR and mCare to improve medication safety, demonstrate outcomes and mitigate risks 

At Graham Care, we have always had good levels of technology and we recognised that the latest advances in technology and software would help us further mitigate risk, demonstrate resident care outcomes and not only demonstrate compliance with regulations but also care standards to our end users and stakeholders such as commissioners, CQC and relatives.  
Moving forward in care and given the pressures to demonstrate outcomes and tackle risk, there is no other way but to first collect data and then harness the latest analytics to highlight and mitigate the risks that arise in care provision.  
Care records used for recording historical events can be audited if something goes wrong, but as a sector we need to be cleverer and, for that, we need data from all the different technologies that we use for care. There are now many companies creating specialist technologies with open infrastructures to combine data from all sources.  
Ultimately, we have always been very conscious of the fact that the most significant improvements that can be made in the provision of care are through the harnessing of technology, which in turn provides us with that top-level data that we need to maintain a holistic view of operations. Access to such a large amount of data gives care providers a much greater ability to manage and mitigate risk and identify issues or weaknesses to quickly be resolved. 
Why we chose Person Centred Software 
We had initially developed our own digital care planning system as there was nothing on the market that suited us at the time. Nonetheless, it was a big decision to move to a software provider’s system. We have always strived to utilise the latest technology to provide person-centred care, but as time went on, we recognised that our in-house digital care planning system was increasingly becoming ‘last generation’, and we knew that to continue to improve, we needed to update our technology. 
We chose ATLAS eMAR for medicine management. We also switched to using Person Centred Software’s digital care planning system (mCare) for evidencing care in real-time and digital care planning. The company has expertise through many years of developing for care administration and care planning software.  


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How ATLAS eMAR reduces risk and ensures medication accuracy 
For us, a fundamental requirement of an eMAR system was barcode scanning for safety. It also had to have full stock control and to be able to tackle the issues of communication around changes to therapy and prescriptions with the pharmacy and GP surgeries. ATLAS eMAR was the only system that had all of these, with features such as Barcode Technology, which is totally unique to ATLAS eMAR, Stock Control, Group Reporting, Pharmacy Integration and others.  
Evidence-based research with Cardiff University showed that ATLAS eMAR was safe and gave time savings to providers. 
We also worked with Cardiff University on a project that delegated medicines administration from nurses to carers, using the ATLAS eMAR and Scorecard for safety, monitoring and auditing. Before the project, nurses spent two hours giving medicines out, leaving no time to manage the shift. 
Now, we have ‘med carers’, trained and competency assessed, to do the medications. The shifts are now nurse led and they delegate medicines tasks to the med carers. By delegating medication administration, it has given staff a significant amount of time back in their shift – time that can be spent with residents ensuring that the best person-centred care possible is being provided.  
The ATLAS Scorecard uses the data from important medicines management tasks and aggregates the results to give each of my homes a score. This allows me and compliance managers to have an overview of medicines management in all homes at any given time. This means we can manage by exception and tackle under-performance and mitigate risk. Now we want this type of scorecard in all aspects of our care so that we can bring the running of the homes to the standards of the built environment. 
In a care home environment, there is a mass of data, and the challenge is to combine the data together to make sense of and predict where errors and risks are. ATLAS eMAR brings this data together in a centralised system that not only makes it far easier to manage and administer medication, but resident safety is assured because we have the ability to achieve much higher medication accuracy levels, whether it’s from administration, stock control or identification of areas of underperformance.  
The type of errors that compromise medication safety are now all-but eliminated thanks to ATLAS eMAR.  
Recording care notes on the go with mCare 
One of the main reasons we chose mCare was because of the technical and open architecture. Our system operated on desktop computers and ran locally from a server, but we switched to Person Centred Software which uses more modern mobile handheld devices so staff can evidence care on the go.  
This means that because staff have the robust but very portable hand-held devices with them as they work, they can input much more detail and more often because they don’t have to make mental notes of whatever happens and then go back to a desk to input the information there. Not only does this save time and effort, but it means that the recording and evidencing of care is far more streamlined whilst also being more detailed.  
mCare uses mobile devices to prompt care and record its events. It is very visual due to the Icon-Driven Interface feature and easy to record notes thanks to features such as Speech to Text, and it saves a lot of time and is relatively low cost. Person Centred Software’s system is widely used, and the inspectors were very happy and familiar with it. In fact, 94% of their care homes have a good or outstanding rating with CQC. 
True transparency with Relatives Gateway 
When we used our own in-house care planning system, we gave relatives online access to all care records. Relatives really valued this openness and transparency. We were one of the first care providers to do this. Contrary to the fear of some care providers, that showing all the care notes would create additional legal cases, we found that being more open with our relatives actually defuses things. 
The Relatives Gateway included in Person Centred Software’s digital care planning system gives a summary of care notes to family members, along with a social network for sending photos and messages to keep in touch. We are really pleased that Person Centred Software has configured the Relatives Gateway further for Graham Care Homes so that relatives have permissions to be able to see all the notes and not just the summary. 
We want to share the data we have with relatives and other stakeholders in the care of residents. This will help to create closer relationships and even more openness with relatives and improve the quality of care that our residents receive in their health and social care journeys. 
Providing better care with the help of data 
There is a case for integration and inter-operability to give the ability to share data, for example with care planning, medication management and call bell events. Using in-depth specialist systems that integrate seamlessly like mCare and ATLAS eMAR, we have analytics and insights on care that we did not have before.  
I think in future there will be a need for a data analyst in every care provider. 


Screenshot 2023-09-07 093324


The type of errors that compromise medication safety are now all-but eliminated thanks to ATLAS eMAR. 

Ernie Graham
Owner, Graham Care Homes


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