Home of Comfort Nursing Home in Southsea, Portsmouth, offers nursing care for 29 residents. The care home implemented an electronic care planning system in 2018 to improve the quality of data.
Home of Comfort Nursing Home was cautious about adopting an electronic care planning system. Administration Manager Robin Hall, who is involved in all non-clinical aspects of managing the care home operations, explains, “We’re a small, conservative home and saw ourselves as more concerned with providing person-centred care than investing in the latest technology. We could see the value of digital systems, but we didn’t want to make the wrong choice. We hoped we’d get guidance from our CCG about electronic care planning systems, but we’re still waiting!”
Robin met Jonathan Papworth, co-founder and director of Person Centred Software, at a social care technology conference. “He explained the positive impact of technology,” says Robin. “After that, I spoke to an early adopter who had begun using Person Centred Software’s system in 2013. They experienced huge benefits and said it saved their care staff an hour per shift on documentation.”
“It took us 15 months from being introduced to Person Centred Software to start using their Mobile Care Monitoring system,” explains Robin. “Seeing the system in use at other homes was a critical part of our decision-making process. Person Centred Software has a customer map on their website, so we could see everyone using the system and speak to anyone we knew. One care home we spoke to was planning to move from using another electronic care planning system to using it. This helped us to validate our choice and indicated that Mobile Care Monitoring was the best electronic care planning system on the market. It was the only product that had the feeling of, ‘let’s make a really good product and let it speak for itself.’ There was no hard sell,” Robin adds.
“Within a few weeks, Mobile Care Monitoring system was working well, and everyone was committed to not going back to paper. I think I would have had a riot on my hands if I’d suggested it!”
On-site staff training
“We worried whether our 40 members of staff would cope with using a handheld device to evidence care rather than paper,” says Robin. “Thankfully, we could talk to other care providers who had already transitioned to using Mobile Care Monitoring for reassurance.”
Person Centred Software provided on-site training days for Home of Comfort. “Training was very good and the speed that the system embedded is testament to how easy to use the app is,” says Robin. “The roll-out went much more smoothly than we expected. Even people who don’t have a smartphone find the system easy to use.”
“Staff were apprehensive before their group training session but were supportive of each other in the session and came out much more confident saying, ‘What’s the worst that can happen? We can’t break it!’. They even asked how soon they could start using it! Within a few weeks, Mobile Care Monitoring system was working well, and everyone was committed to not going back to paper. I think I would have had a riot on my hands if I’d suggested it!” laughs Robin.
The benefits of using Mobile Care Monitoring
“We have massively improved the quality of our data since implementing Mobile Care Monitoring in 2018,” says Robin. “The amount of data that we collect and store is not comparable to paper. It’s so much easier to record things that we would never have thought to write it down before. With this amount of data, we can better monitor and improve our residents’ care.”
“One of the reasons we chose Mobile Care Monitoring was the Relatives Gateway. It’s a brilliant idea; we can show a resident’s relevant care information to families through an online portal.”
“Residents’ care records and are also visible at all times. Matron doesn’t have to run around the building to find out information now. I can look at records without bothering anyone, and I don’t need to hunt through piles of notes to find out, for instance, when someone’s last GP visit was. I can easily answer questions from any external agency or relative,” adds Robin.
Care homes have the option of using barcodes for night staff scan to evidence the time and place a night check was carried out, and the system utilises photos as evidence. Robin explains that additional evidence, “provides reassurance to commissioners and relatives.” She continues, “One of the reasons we chose Mobile Care Monitoring was the Relatives Gateway. It’s a brilliant idea; we can show a resident’s relevant care information to families through an online portal.”
Robin says, “Mobile Care Monitoring supports our home’s open, transparent attitude. The side-effect of collecting so much information is that it reduces the likelihood of safeguarding inquiries. If there is one, the quality of our evidence means we are on the front foot, not in the firing line like care homes so often are. We have collaborative, honest conversations rather than combative ones.”
She continues, “We are getting value for money, and I believe we are only currently using three quarters of the product so far. It has always been my impression that Person Centred Software work hard to understand care homes’ problems and make sure their product works best for us and the millions of agencies we work with, not just now but in the future too. Home of Comfort is an old converted building and it could do with new carpets and wallpaper. Yet, we see Person Centred Software’s system as an investment because it is helping us to improve resident care.”
“We are getting value for money, and I believe we are only currently using three quarters of the product so far.”
Hosting a user group
“We offered to host a user group as we felt we learnt a lot from other care homes when we were looking for a system,” explains Robin. “We also knew we were not using all capabilities of the system, so it was a good opportunity to speak to other providers in our area using the system. The fact that Person Centred Software offered to send someone from their product team was very positive. It demonstrated a commitment to drive development of the system with input from users.”
“Our main concern with adopting technology was that we were too small for it… my advice to other care homes is to somehow create the resource to go paperless; it’s really worth doing!”
“We often feel that providers suffer from ‘meeting-fatigue’, so we were delighted that the user group was so useful,” says Robin. “Unlike a lot of meetings we’re asked to attend, the user group was not just focused on telling us what to do or problems. We were introduced to areas of the system that we could use more and received real answers and support from other care providers and Person Centred Software. Ultimately, it was a constructive and supportive forum, with ideas of things we could do immediately to help our care home. We look forward to hosting another user group in the Portsmouth area.”
Going paperless is worth it
“There were lots of reasons we were hesitant to use an electronic care planning system, but on reflection, none of them were real issues.” Robin explains, “We were concerned about how residents would feel about it, but it’s easier to show them their records than on paper. We were concerned that our care workers and nurses might struggle, some did at first, but with our support they are all happy using the system. We thought recruitment might be harder if were using technology in our care home. However, most of our recruitment comes from colleges. Young people are very confident using any kind of computerised system. Most agency workers have used an electronic care planning system at another care home, so I believe that we’re hitting critical mass!
Robin advises other care homes that are still using paper, “Our main concern with adopting technology was that we were too small for it. I am sure that we would get even more benefit from Mobile Care Monitoring if we had an Operations Manager or IT Manager, but my advice to other care homes is to somehow create the resource to go paperless; it’s really worth doing!”