An all-in-one platform for care management
About Belford House
Located in the leafy village of Four Marks, East Hampshire, Belford House is set amidst three acres of manicured gardens and offers a warm, homely and caring atmosphere. The home has 32 beautifully furnished rooms that all come with ensuites, barring one, and provides a full activities programme for their residents.
Belford House, which has been operating for over 30 years and has been part of Hartford Care Group since 2020, offers residential, dementia, day care, respite breaks, and end of life care.
Monika Katinas, Home Manager at Belford House, discusses how Person Centred Software’s care planning and wellness & activities solutions improved the quality of care and the accuracy of records
Before we implemented Person Centred Software’s digital care planning system (mCare), our main challenges were achieving the highest standards of consistency in care planning as well as the amount of detail available to us for reporting.
Before implementation, we used a paper-based care planning approach, which was not only ill-equipped to provide the level of detail needed to keep comprehensive records of everyday activities, reports and data for audits and inspections, but also using a paper-based approach meant that staff were taking far longer than necessary to record care notes and update care plans.
With consistency being one of our main challenges, having situations where care plans might only be one or two lines, might be illegible due to handwriting, or might be missed altogether, is certainly less than ideal.
We agreed that to streamline our processes and improve the quality of care given to our residents, we needed a system that would keep everything we needed in one place, that could be easily accessed and updated in real-time throughout the day but could also be stored securely.
We needed a system that could provide us with the level of detail and data, such as a resident's history and background – information that is invaluable in the process of individualised care, but information we didn’t previously have access to, that would enable us to provide the best person-centred care possible.
Everything you need in one place with the Connected Care Platform
After much thought, we decided to go for Person Centred Software because they offer an all-in-one cloud-based care management platform, which features integrated products like the digital care planning system, mCare, as well as integrated products and features like Digital Reception, GP Connect and the Oomph! Wellbeing and Activities platform.
We wanted to avoid having to sign up to multiple systems because this would be time-consuming and inefficient, not to mention more costly, and would effectively defeat the purpose of moving away from paper care plans in the first place. But Person Centred Software’s Connected Care Platform has everything we need in one place, which allows us to streamline and simplify our operations, all while enabling us to improve the quality of the care we provide to our residents. In fact, it has enabled us to provide a level of care that wouldn’t have even been possible before.
Implementing Person Centred Software’s digital care management solutions
It’s understandable that whenever there is a significant change in how a care home operates, especially a large group of care homes, there is going to be some apprehension. Getting used to a completely new way of doing things can seem like a daunting task, but we knew that going paperless wouldn’t just mean we were more environmentally friendly, it would mean an enormous improvement on care planning, overall operations and most importantly, the quality of care provided to our residents.
Despite initial apprehension, the staff at Belford were enthusiastic in how they went about learning the new system inside and out. Everyone was quick to see just how positively Person Centred Software’s products like mCare, the Oomph! Wellbeing and Activities platform, GP Connect and Digital Reception were impacting the work they were able to do and the positive impact on the lives of the residents.
How digital care planning supports residents with dementia
Providing truly person-centred care for residents with dementia is essential, and one of the key features of mCare that has improved this hugely has been the Who I Am feature. People living with dementia need that extra bit of support, and prior to using Person Centred Software’s care planning system, the moment the resident moved into the home was the moment we actually had the chance to start to know them.
But that has changed because Who I Am enables us to build a document comprising personalised information, such as what's important to the resident, what they like to talk about, what they used to enjoy doing, what makes them feel better if they’re anxious or upset, a summary of their care plan and wishes for their future care among other things. It has truly helped us to build their life story and understand exactly how to tailor care to suit their needs.
GP Connect shares medical history quickly, safely and efficiently
In using GP Connect, which we are able to access through Person Centred Software’s digital care planning system, we’ve been able to free up a huge amount of time by not having to spend a long time waiting for a GP’s office to respond to requests for medical information, or even just that process of having to discuss it with them and then to wait for the information we need to come through.
Using a paper-based care planning approach doesn’t just mean it takes longer to procure the information, but the information we had stored in our paper files was usually two or three months out of date.
But using GP Connect has enabled us to gain access to medical information in real time, which is crucial if we need to provide it to an ambulance that is arriving on the scene. In fact, we’ve been told that the emergency services love the system!
Complete oversight with Digital Reception
Resident safety is always of the highest priority, so having Digital Reception, which helps us to know exactly who is in the home at any time, is a huge improvement on using a paper sign-in book.
In a care home, you have people coming and going a lot. Whether it’s family or friends coming to visit their relatives, staff starting or finishing their shifts, contractors called in for repair works or taking residents out to engage in the community, it’s all-too common for people to forget to either sign themselves in or out of a care home. But doing so is critical because as a home manager, I need to know exactly how many people are in the building for safeguarding and fire log purposes. It also helps us to keep a resident’s care plan up to date because we can keep track of who is coming to see them.
But it does so much more than that; with Digital Reception I can receive and follow up on feedback given by visitors, I can analyse data on elements like usage, and I even customise the branding to add our Belford Care logo and colours!
Home Manager Monika Katinas’ favourite feature of Person Centred Software’s Connected Care Platform
A care home is just that, it’s a home. A huge part of providing person-centred care is making sure our residents feel engaged, happy and healthy, and fostering an environment where they can live full lives. We decided to invest in the Oomph! Wellbeing and Activities platform because it's one place for everything we need, with activities created by experts, to make sure our residents' physical and emotional health is prioritised.
Our only activity coordinator works 9-5, so before we used the Wellbeing and Activities Platform, there were many times in which we had to stick to puzzles and boardgames because we didn’t have access to many different outlets. And our activity coordinator, Mary, often had to take the time to think of quizzes every night.
Every staff member at the care home works extremely hard, always doing what is best for the residents, and often work very long shifts, and with the best will in the world, there sometimes wasn’t time to really think about activities for residents to engage with. But now we have so much variety; the sheer number of different activities available is unbelievable. Whether it’s virtual tours, interactive quizzes, exercise classes or anything in between, it’s all available 24/7, tailored to individual needs, and easy to use for any member of staff.
Since we implemented the Oomph! Wellbeing and Activities Platform, we have found that the residents have grown to absolutely love it; we have two residents who like to enjoy a glass of wine and watch David Attenborough programs on repeat. They have lots of laughs and really enjoy themselves, and it’s all thanks to the platform. And if we have a particular resident that isn’t having a good evening, we can find something on the platform that we know they will like to make them feel more comfortable.
It has helped relationships between our residents and staff too. For example, ours is a multicultural home, and one thing that really warmed me to the platform was when one of our staff, who is of Asian origin, used the platform to show one of the residents, who wasn’t sure of the staff member’s origin, short films about his culture so that the resident could learn about it. This helped bring them closer together, to understand each other more, and now they are the best of friends!
The integration between mCare and Oomph is also efficient and seamless. The platform enables me to clearly see who has been attending activities and what they have attended. It goes straight on to their care plan, which is great.
To do all these things and more with one platform is the reason why I’ll always recommend Person Centred Software.