Handsale Care Homes had adopted Person Centred Software’s Mobile Care Monitoring system to improve the efficiency and communication across its eight UK homes, which will soon include a ninth home currently under construction outside of Edinburgh.
Founded in 1988, the family business of Handsale delivers the highest quality of individual care.
The company employs around 700 people, all of whom provide its 500 residents with friendly, personal and compassionate care, together with an environment where residents and their families feel safe and happy.
The need for electronic care planning
Rishi Sodha, Care Director at Handsale, based in North West London, supervises compliance across the care homes. He ensures the homes maintain the highest standards in how they manage the business, their staff, and their treatment of both residents and relatives. His role includes overseeing care planning, training, audits and HR.
Alongside six other board members, Rishi’s board level role means that he needs to ensure clear, honest and easy communication across all the care homes.
Rishi says, “As we grew the business, a major requirement was to have an overview of how each home was performing. We also needed a risk register at board level to identify any potential events that could impact the organisation. We identified that we needed an electronic care planning system. Following a review of the market, we determined that Person Centred Software’s Mobile Care Monitoring was the ideal solution.”
The electronic care solution
Handsale started discussions with Person Centred Software at the start of 2017 and the software implementation began in August. The software is being installed in a staged approach with eight homes now up and running so far.
“The homes are at different stages of implementation and we focus on playing to the strengths within each,” explains Rishi. “The key is to understand a homes’ staff and their specific needs rather than have a set-in stone approach. In that way, you can customise the training and build their enthusiasm.”
Handsale runs the Mobile Care Monitoring software alongside traditional paper systems for the first month. Once installed, the homes are given a six months bedding-in period and Rishi works closely with them to ensure everything is functioning effectively and to embed best practice. Daily, weekly and monthly audits ensure all care is undertaken as planned.
Rishi adds, “Our care plans are based on oral interviews which are extremely detailed to ensure we cover all of a resident’s needs. The care plans on Mobile Care Monitoring automatically link to this assessment and ensures that residents receive the exact care required, and nothing is missed. I’m delighted to say that professional and regulatory partners have credited us with having some of the best and most person-centred care plans in the industry.
“I tell home managers that Mobile Care Monitoring can be their best friend or worst enemy since it cannot lie. It will certainly show best practice but if a home has bad practices, such as a care plan with only two lines, it will show up that they write bad care plans. It certainly highlights any gaps or potential problems. But rather than dampen morale, we’ve found that 100 per cent of managers are fully supportive of the new software and jump at the chance to fix any errors.”
“Our nurses are saving up to 4 hours a day and the care staff between 45 minutes to an hour. I hear many homes complain about lack of staff but if a nurse can save four hours, it’s like having another staff member for a third of a shift.
Training with Person Centred Software
Training is a vital part of the implementation process at Handsale. Regular training days take place alongside weekly sessions over the six-month implementation process to ensure the best possible uptake and usage of the system.
According to Rishi, “After a couple of sessions, everyone can see what the software can do and are excited about it. The key is to go at a pace that suits them. When one person gets it, they become your champion and start to reinforce your messages, and in turn others are more willing to have a go.
“It’s best to keep groups small and sort them according to skill level,” he adds. “You’re likely to have a large age range across your staff and older members often need more time. But whilst older staff may need more training, the ROI is higher in the long run because they are usually very conscientious. For example, the quality of care report during an incident from an older staff member is usually more detailed and accurate compared to younger staff who can sometimes be less thorough due to their familiarity with mobile technology.”
The benefits of Mobile Care Monitoring
One of Handsale’s homes, Treelands Care Home in Oldham, Lancashire, went fully paperless on month four. “At the time, a nurse pulled me into her clinic room and told me it was the first time she’d stepped foot inside there since her morning meds round and she felt it was the first full day of nursing she’d done in 10 years,” says Rishi. “She also showed me her office which contained just one shelf of paperwork replacing what she described as being a paper mountain rather than an office.
Rishi points to time saving as a major benefit. “Our nurses are saving up to 4 hours a day and the care staff between 45 minutes to an hour. I hear many homes complain about lack of staff but if a nurse can save four hours, it’s like having another staff member for a third of a shift.
“Our night staff are now more involved. In some homes, we became aware that night staff just wrote the sleeping plans but were in fact giving meals and drinks to residents and managing their mobility needs – so were more than capable of updating all care plans. This has led to far less tension between day and night staff. And those homes where they’ve had Person Centred Software the longest, the tensions are even less.
“This all means that staff morale and retention has improved considerably,” he continues. However, Rishi sees the biggest benefit is at board level and corporate governance. “Initially we saw it as a way to save time, but it has given us insight into things we just didn’t know. For example, we discovered that one resident was missing a sleeping care plan, and we were able to rectify it immediately.
“At a corporate level, we can now sleep calmly at night. And our home managers can go on holiday, confident that the right care is being given to everyone.” And since implementing Mobile Care Monitoring, Rishi confirms that no risk assessments have expired.
“Person Centred Software has been extremely responsive to my needs and the software is very intuitive and closely aligned to our care homes’ needs. We’ve achieved an excellent return on investment and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the software. It’s worth every penny and then some. I know all home managers wouldn’t go back. And if I ever threatened to remove Person Centred Software, I think I’d have a riot on my hands.”