On behalf of the Highland Council, NHS Highland is the only local authority in Scotland where care homes are owned by the NHS. NHS Highland provides residential care for 209 residents and employs 400 workers to improve quality of life for the residents that they care for.
Choosing an electronic care planning system
Claire Cameron, Programme Manager for Adult Social Care Projects at NHS Highland, chose to implement Person Centred Software’s Mobile Care Monitoring electronic care planning system after using the system in her previous role at St Philips Care.
“NHS Highland is now at the forefront of technology for social care and there were no barriers to implementing Mobile Care Monitoring.”
“As Director of Operations in Scotland for St Philips Care, I was part of the senior management team to choose and implement an electronic care planning system,” says Claire. “We took six months to review all suppliers and choose Person Centred Software system over other electronic planning systems. The layout of its Mobile Care Monitoring system is well designed, simple to operate for staff and quickly processes information between the two parts of the system. The reporting in Mobile Care Monitoring is brilliant, we knew that seeing information in real-time and near to exact amounts of care hours that residents require would be hugely valuable. The team that came to present to St Philips Care were passionate, knew the system inside out, and were unique among software providers we met in that they didn’t belittle other products.”
Claire explains, “It was a bit of a shock when I said that we would be installing a digital system! People have the perception that the Highlands is last to get the latest innovations. However, NHS Highland is now at the forefront of technology for social care and there were no barriers to implementing Mobile Care Monitoring. All we needed to do, even at our most remote care home, DailMhor House in the far west of Scotland, was set up some WiFi boosters in the home.”
A smooth transition from paper to digital care planning
“The implementation at NHS Highland was very smooth,” says Claire. “Managers and staff were ready to move to using an electronic system and embraced the change. They were exasperated and embarrassed that we were not keeping up with regulatory obligations on paper. Due to my previous experience, I was able to support the implementations, manage expectations, reassure staff and manage the change with them.”
“Some members of staff who have been with NHS Highland for ten to fifteen years and didn’t have many IT skills saw the introduction of Mobile Care Monitoring as a massive change,” says Claire. “We ran a ‘buddy up’ scheme with staff who were more confident, so that they had support to get used to the Care App. Staff who don’t speak English as a first language were worried too, but the icon-driven app and ‘talk to type’ and spell check functions on the devices really helped put their minds at ease.”
Positive feedback from NHS professionals
Feedback from other NHS professionals and regulatory bodies has been very good. Claire says, “Typically, NHS systems are clunky, old and don’t talk to each other but using Mobile Care Monitoring many NHS streams can now access our data. Physiotherapists, care at home, district nurses and other professionals are still using paper and they see what we’re doing as very exciting. I see a real potential to grow the system for NHS use.”
“Two years ago, our Invernevis care home was almost in an embargo due to poor documentation, poor care planning and poor MAR charts,” says Claire. “We’ve shown the system to the Care Inspectorate and, although we haven’t had an inspection yet, we are really looking forward to hearing feedback as we are a million miles from where we were. We’ve never had such robust care plans on paper.”
“Typically, NHS systems are clunky, old and don’t talk to each other but using Mobile Care Monitoring many NHS streams can now access our data. Physiotherapists, care at home, district nurses and other professionals are still using paper and they see what we’re doing as very exciting.”
“The huge selling point of the system is that we can match residents’ dependency and staff hours to match our needs across 24 hours to ensure we have the right skill mix for dependency. We can now evidence appropriate staffing to the Care Inspectorate, which we couldn’t do on paper,” Claire adds.
“We have gathered other outcomes that we didn’t expect to,” says Claire. “The system was able to show that the NHS introduction of Apetito’s meals correlated to a reduction in the number of prescribed laxatives, UTIs, flagged skin integrity and an increase in weight at our care homes.”
“Many residents at Invernevis were prescribed Laxedo three times a day, seven days a week. Now it’s just down to PRN medication. There’s huge financial savings to NHS Highland, but the health benefits for our residents far outweigh the savings to the business.”
Claire says, “I’m really pleased about the decrease of laxatives and the pharmacist is excited too. Many residents at Invernevis were prescribed Laxedo three times a day, seven days a week. Now it’s just down to PRN medication. There’s huge financial savings to NHS Highland, but the health benefits for our residents far outweigh the savings to the business. We are looking forward to sharing in nutrition journals how we’ve been able to capture data in real-time and improve nutrition and residents’ wellbeing.”
Benefits for staff and residents
“Mobile Care Monitoring enables us to have a seamless pathway for residents’ health and social care journeys,” says Claire. “We are piloting enabling the local hospital and A&E to log on and create digital records. This means that if someone is admitted to hospital, paramedics, doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals can record interactions and we then continue recording when the resident returns home to us.”
“All staff members benefit from using an electronic care planning system,” says Claire. “Using Mobile Care Monitoring is much easier and less time-consuming than paper for care staff. And with real-time data that care staff record, managers have extraordinary visibility. They’re no longer reading through files but being guided by flags and alerts in the system if something hasn’t happened. All paper allowed managers to do was to look at records retrospectively, so the system absolutely supports managers to run their care home effectively. It gives them time back and helps them keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening. As I see it, real-time data is key to running a successful care service and NHS Highland’s residential care wouldn’t be where it is without Mobile Care Monitoring.”
“Person Centred Software is very responsive and keen to work with us to create the best system to help us demonstrate our quality of care and drive outstanding care.”
“Absolutely change now, it’s a no brainer!” Claire advises other care homes still using paper. “I spoke to an Operations Director at a care home group recently and they’re so excited to get the system and they can’t believe they’re so far behind.” Person Centred Software forms close partnerships with its customers and Claire says, “It’s clear Person Centred Software is keen to develop relationships and partnerships in the sector and to not stand static with product development; there’s always new enhancements being added! Person Centred Software is very responsive and keen to work with us to create the best system to help us demonstrate our quality of care and drive outstanding care.”