According to an article published in The Guardian on 25th November 2018, more than 1,000 care home patients have died suffering from malnutrition, dehydration or bedsores. These figures are from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which completed an analysis of death certificates at the newspaper’s request. The ONS acknowledged that ‘it is possible that poor care may have been a factor in some of the deaths’.
Study into better care in care homes
To many, this report is not a surprise. Person Centred Software, the developer of Mobile Care Monitoring, an intelligent mobile solution for evidencing care interactions, electronic care planning and reporting, is already working with UCL (University College London) to conduct a study into the impact of good care on life expectancy.
Professor Laurence Lovat, leading the study, says, “The report by the Office of National Statistics may well underestimate the magnitude of the issue. There are many clues that a problem may be developing. Our research is looking at using big data analysis of routinely collected information by care home workers to identify patterns which predict development of malnutrition and dehydration. This will lead to simple early interventions to prevent this entirely avoidable cause of death in vulnerable care home residents.”
One solution to this issue is to give residential social care providers the tools they need to provide the best quality of care possible.
The Mobile Care Monitoring application is now used by over 900 care homes in the UK and enables staff to record care at the point of delivery using its icon-driven app. The information is then at the fingertips of carers to analyse and adjust care as necessary to ensure a responsive and person-centred approach.
For instance, rather than guess what people have drunk and risk them being dehydrated, using Mobile Care Monitoring, staff can accurately and immediately evidence fluids they have offered, and residents have drunk. With access to precise evidence of care, fluids can be monitored, and risks are greatly reduced, not just to dehydration. One care home group found that by monitoring fluids using Mobile Care Monitoring, they were able to also reduce falls by 33%.
Alison Redhead, Registered Manager at Minster Grange Care Home said, “A member of the care team requested that a resident was put on fluid watch as they were concerned that they weren’t drinking enough. The fact that this member of staff, rather than feel frustrated, knew that the system could support us shows just how invaluable the Mobile Care Monitoring system is.”
5% of care homes using Mobile Care Monitoring are rated Outstanding by CQC compared to 3% of care homes nationally, as stated in the original article.
Relatives Gateway keeping families in touch
And it’s not just carers and care home managers that want and need confirmation that residents are cared for. Relatives can often be left isolated once a loved one has been placed in care. This is now solved with the secure Relatives Gateway portal, part of the Mobile Care Monitoring service. It enables friends and family of those in care to stay informed and in touch as well as share messages and photos.
The system not only dispels families’ fears about care homes but keeps them much more connected to their family member’s new stage of life during the transition into care. The Relatives Gateway also gives value back to carers too, since it shows and recognises everything that they do, from major activities to the smallest acts of kindness.