Tara Cross, a registered care manager at Mulberry house (a specialist residential and nursing care home that supports people of all ages), explains why they decided to switch to Person Centred Software’s Digital Care Planning System.
About Mulberry House
Mulberry House, a 72-bed nursing and residential care home based in St Leonards on Sea, offer care and support to adults of all ages and different needs. The care home, split into units for specialist residential and nursing care, has a range of clients, some of whom require a very high nursing need, including elderly frails or end-of-life clients. Others have complex needs associated with mental illness, learning disabilities, challenging behaviour, dementia and other long-term conditions, such as chronic mental health, acquired brain injury, neurological diseases and deficits.
The home also specialises in taking clients that other services have failed to manage effectively, usually due to behaviour management issues and some of the more complex dementias.
Tara Cross – embarking on a digital transformation journey
When I first took over as a manager at Mulberry house, the care home was still very reliant on paper-based processes, which led to significant problems. As you know, if essential paperwork is not completed and filed promptly and correctly, it causes standards of care to slip and concerns to be raised by the CQC. Mulberry House needed to provide more evidence of what we were delivering from a safeguarding perspective, and we wanted to reduce time-consuming tasks by cutting out some of the admin tasks.
I researched a range of digital care planning systems, including Person Centred Software. Regrettably, I chose a different system at first, which we used for a couple of years, but unfortunately, it didn't feel like it was keeping up with our demand. In addition, it wasn't a very user-friendly system, and it had been heavily criticised by the CQC and our local quality monitoring team. So, we looked into getting a different system.
We decided to follow in the footsteps of Hythe Care Group – who had been using Person Centred Software for a while and had recommended the system.
Making the switch
The team were really impressed when we started using Person Centred Software’s Digital Care Planning System; it was different from the old system we previously used. There was no need for extensive training, and everything was so straightforward. The old system was complicated to use and challenging at times. It was quite a clunky system, especially when it came to pulling out reports. The pre-populated care planning feature was a nightmare to use, the statements were very generic, and sometimes you ended up with complete gibberish because it was pre-populated.
In contrast, I find Person Centred Software's Digital Care Planning System extremely good at pulling out reports, which I can ping into a PDF in a matter of minutes, sometimes even less. Furthermore, Person Centred Software's care planning feature has care plans that meet both the social and medical needs of the people we support. Residents' preferences and essential information is available at the point of care and accessible at all times; they are person-centred and very good at tracking consistent care needs.
The system allows me to write traditional care plans electronically - so I can make them individual and write as much or as little as I need to. The care plan feature sits alongside some good assessment tools that give you all the clinical governance - it's been a great help!
I can instantly generate hospital plans as well; the software automatically produces hospital packs from our resident files, which saves time preparing documentation when someone is transported to an urgent care setting.
Person Centred Software – more challenges solved
Mulberry House is quite a large complex, and we needed something that would give us visibility across the whole home – Person Centred Software’s Digital Care Planning System did precisely this. From a clinical governance point of view, mainly because I'm a nurse by background, I can now get a glance at what's happening in the home without having to run around asking people. So, it's great to run reports and immediately get a good oversight of the whole building.
When we are showing prospective families around our home, we always highlight that we use the Digital Care Planning System because it's what they expect now. They expect to have that ability, visibility, and transparency and for us to be able to share information with them immediately.
The system helps to give visibility to all staff members, which is particularly good for our agency staff. They get to see the same information as the regular staff so they can be fully aware of each client's care needs.
I also like how the Digital Care Planning System relies heavily on icons; it makes it perfect for our carers where English is not their first language. Writing care notes can often be challenging, but with Person Centred Software's icon buttons, information is now recorded quickly and easily - their emoji system is brilliant! It's a masterpiece when it comes to saving time.
The fluid and nutrition monitoring features are beneficial - we use them daily. It helps the team at Mulberry House to keep track of what fluid and food has been provided and consumed in the last 24 hours. The good thing about this feature is that it's not age-related; it's very individual. With the fluid feature, you can fully personalise each client's fluid needs, so carers have a clear indication of each person's fluid requirements, whether it's a fluid target that needs to be met or a fluid cap in place due to a medical condition. It's easy to see instantly in the building who hasn't drunk, what they need to drink, who hasn't eaten and what they need to do daily, amongst other things. You can stay responsive, which is one of the key lines of inquiry being responsive immediately. I can instantly pick up the phone to any of my senior staff and say, "Janice hasn't drunk very much today; she needs to be offered some more water". So, I like that it tells me what's been offered because you can't change the fact that a 90-year-old isn't going to drink very much, but you can change the fact that she was only offered 1 cup of tea in 24 hours for example. This feature has helped reduce falls and UTIs; we have almost no incidences of UTIs, chest infections, or pressure and ulcer damage. We still have some instances of falling, although it's behaviour-related falling rather than anything else.
The Digital Care Planning System has so many other features, like the body map, where you can track the progress of a wound or infection and the oral care feature, which enables staff to evidence how they support residents to maintain good oral health. I could be here all day if I mentioned all the features!
Easy to use, learn and set up
When I first started using Person Centred Software's Digital Care Planning System, I found it relatively easy to use and learn. It's like anything; you've got to put some effort in and be interested. The system is easy to navigate, but if you need a little help, Person Centred Software offers plenty of helpful advice. They run training sessions on how to use their Digital Care Planning System; they also have a few interactive webinars which help to guide you through each part of the Digital Care Planning System, as well as an online chat service, which has a quick response rate.
What would you say to care providers that are still using paper-based documentation?
They need to switch to Person Centred Software's Digital Care Planning System - I can't imagine why you wouldn't want to have all that reporting data at the drop of a hat. I recommend Person Centred Software to other care homes and groups because it's a great system! I would also say that it gives excellent visibility to the managers. It doesn't get away from the need of having to walk around your building and check in on residents, but it does take away a significant element of that from a governance point of view because you can see it.
It's easy to use and automatically helps with compliance because of its reporting system. It's great going to a safeguarding meeting surrounded by social workers, family and CQC inspectors because whatever they ask for or need, you can produce evidence. You can see all of the GP and professional input too.
Our staff are less stressed now that they have an excellent Digital Care Planning System - we are now electronic masters of the system. Hopefully, the system will help to support us with our CQC inspections and compliance.
The care industry is one of the most regulated environments you could work in; to not use a digital platform to manage that would be insane. You couldn't possibly keep up with regulatory requirements using anything else but a digital platform – you just can't. So, thank you, Person Centred Software!
Tara Cross, Registered Care Manger at Mulberry House