Carers want to spend their time caring. Improving the lives of those they look after is the reason they do their job. But when constant administration and inefficient processes get in the way of carers being able to provide the best possible care, it can really affect the way they feel about their job.
When administration adds up
Oaktree Court in Somerset is part of Majesticare Group and provides accommodation for residents who require nursing and personal care. Like many care homes, Oaktree Court relied on carers maintaining records for CQC with pen and paper. But paperwork was causing them problems.
The main problem was that filling in paper documents was taking carers away from performing their job, which is primarily to care for residents.
“We found that the carers have far more time to spend with the residents at the critical times than they ever did before. Their level of satisfaction has raised considerably because they now know that every single time they provide care to a resident, they’re able to record it.”
Andy Kirby, General Manager, Oaktree Court Care Home
At least one hour of each carer’s shift was spent filling in paper documents. At the end of each shift, the carer would have to recall all the information from every interaction with a resident, sometimes 8 hours earlier, and compile a paper record. With so much time between the initial care interaction and the paper record being produced, it was possible that vital information could be forgotten, and records could be inaccurate.
Andy Kirby, General Manager of Oaktree Court Care Home, explains the reasons for implementing Mobile Care Monitoring, “We used to keep all of our documentation in paper format. The carers have to do a certain amount of care during the day and they couldn’t necessarily document it all. And if they tried to, they’d spend so long in the office doing the paperwork, that they wouldn’t get time to actually do anything else.”
There was no system in place to keep track of key communications and trends, either. With paper it’s hard to maintain and share important information, as documents often need to be shared between departments and updated regularly.
And it wasn’t just residents and carers that were finding it difficult to share information. Residents’ families were finding it difficult to be kept fully up-to-date with their loved one’s care. Notes taken on paper were not an effective way of keeping family members informed. Something needed to be done to enhance the service and give family members additional peace of mind that their relative was being well looked after.
Giving carers more time to care
Oaktree Court chose to move to recording care on Person Centred Software’s Mobile Care Monitoring (MCM) system in 2017. They use the software on robust, easy-to-use Samsung devices, and carers cut down on the time they spent completing admin, and spent more time doing what they love – caring for residents.
With devices that travel with them during their shift, care staff no longer need to complete all their admin at the end of each shift. Now they can complete care records in real-time at the point of delivery, while still caring for their resident.
The overall result is that carer workers at Oaktree Court have at least one hour more time per shift, which means carers spend more time with the people they care for. This time can be focused on improving residents’ quality of life.
Andy Kirby says, “We found that the carers have far more time to spend with the residents at the critical times than they ever did before. Their level of satisfaction has raised considerably because they now know that every single time they provide care to a resident, they’re able to record it.”
Long-term benefits of using electronic care
This new way of working with Person Centred Software’s system on handheld devices has improved job satisfaction, which means better staff retention and less time and money spent having to recruit and train new members of staff. But it’s not just more time that carers are able to dedicate to their core duties, it’s altogether a better quality of service.
Communication is easier and more effective as care records and care plans are automatically available to all staff with devices. This way staff always have the relevant information at hand to deliver the best possible care and a personalised service that improves residents’ lives. Whether it’s information on a medical condition, updates on care preferences, or things the resident enjoys talking about.
With vital stats stored digitally, data can be analysed, and trends can be spotted to help prevent illnesses and improve care. In another care home, data was monitored to ensure residents were getting enough fluids throughout the day. The result was a 33% reduction in falls, which has significantly reduced the number of subsequent admissions to hospital.
Mobile Care Monitoring has helped Oaktree Court enhance their service. They can now offer a Relatives Gateway, where information that’s captured digitally is available for family members to view. The Relatives Gateway means they are informed of the care their relative is receiving any time during the day or night, without having to call the care home directly, meaning carers can spend more time providing care and less time answering relatives’ queries.
This type of additional service helps improve the perception of the care home, raising standards and satisfaction levels. It helps staff to feel really valued and gives families another reason to trust Oaktree Court to provide the best levels of service for their loved ones.
Using Mobile Care Monitoring has been a positive experience for everyone at Oaktree Court. “The responses we’ve had from residents’ relatives and everybody that uses the service have all been very, very positive. It’s transformed our service completely,” summarises Andy.