Debbie Field, Operations Manager at Benslow Care Homes, ensures that all care homes operate to the best financial efficiencies and provide the best quality of care to the 150 residents that live in the group of care homes.
In 2015, Debbie identified that an electronic care planning system was needed for the care homes. She says, “Paper care plans were using so much staff time. The format of them meant that they were overly repetitive and unreliable and the handwritten care plans were hard to read. We were at risk of pages dropping out as they were carried around the care home. It was a real archaic way of doing things.”
Debbie explains, “We needed a digital system that was person-centred. We wanted to use a system that once care was recorded, the information went immediately into the care plan so there were no discrepancies between the care notes and the care plan.”
Once Benslow decided the need for a digital system, they reviewed the market. “We looked at six different electronic care planning systems in 2015 and implemented Person Centred Software’s Mobile Care Monitoring system from January 2016,” continues Debbie.
“After receiving on-site training, we spent the first two weeks using Mobile Care Monitoring to evidence care electronically as well as maintaining paper records” says Debbie. “Then we moved all our charts and reports such as bowels, turning, nutrition etc. to only being recorded electronically.”
Debbie adds, “It took us a few months to move all paper care plans to Mobile Care Monitoring at all our care homes, but when we implemented at our new care home, Five Gables in 2019, it was much quicker due to what we had learnt and the processes we had in place.”
One of these processes was to assign a member of staff at each care home as the Person Centred Software champion. Debbie says, “This was someone that was very capable with the system and it was very important to lead the change in the care home.”
“As the Operations Manager, the system is so useful. If I pick up an issue in one care home’s care records, I can investigate other care homes’ records to check the same issue isn’t in theirs in about two hours, compared to a week when we used paper. The system has been so valuable to help us maintain a high level of quality of care.”
“While we were initially introducing the system older members of staff wanted to leave, including a member of staff who had been working at Benslow Care Homes for 26 years. However, due to the system being so easy to learn, within a few weeks she was showing me what to do!”, says Debbie. “We found that as the younger members of staff were more digitally literate, they helped everyone to get used to the system.”
Benefits of using Mobile Care Monitoring
Debbie sees huge benefits of using Mobile Care Monitoring for recording care electronically. “As the Operations Manager, the system is so useful. If I pick up an issue in one care home’s care records, I can investigate other care homes’ records to check the same issue isn’t in theirs in about two hours, compared to a week when we used paper. The system has been so valuable to help us maintain a high level of quality of care.”
“We used to have to photocopy all the documents we wanted to share with outside professionals, now everything is exportable as PDFs. We save £2,000 a year that we used to spend on paper, ink, folders and securely storing files,” says Debbie.
“CQC absolutely love the system. By using a digital system, we can support the NHS’s Paperless 2020 project for Health and Social Care, and we want to do it as it is so much easier to evidence.”
Debbie explains that using Mobile Care Monitoring gives staff time back from paperwork. “Without a doubt staff are spending more time with residents. The accuracy in records also helps with my peace of mind. I’ve gone into care homes during the night shift and seen charts that appear to be signed from 4am to 8am. Now we have time sensitive recording that is very good for monitoring. Mobile Care Monitoring gives us security and protects staff, as they can prove what they were doing as it’s recorded in real-time. If the records state that a resident has been turned every two hours, we are confident that the staff member recording is reliable.”
“We save £2,000 a year that we used to spend on paper, ink, folders and securely storing files.”
It’s not just staff at Benslow who have embraced Mobile Care Monitoring. Debbie says, “Everybody loves Mobile Care Monitoring. We are regularly complimented on our robust records by CQC, district nurses, dieticians, local authorities, SALT teams, mental health, safeguarding and best interest assessors.”
“The system provides a clear audit trail and outside professionals can get a better quality of information from the data we record on Mobile Care Monitoring. We used to have to fax them information, but now they can access and contribute to our records digitally. The system also saves them time, makes their life easier, and they trust our records as they are timestamped, have the person who recorded them beside each record, and are of a higher quality than on paper.”
Continual improvements with Person Centred Software
Person Centred Software continually improves Mobile Care Monitoring so that care providers are supported with everything they need for records. Debbie says, “We knew we needed to improve our documentation of bed rails, and as there is a bed rails assessment in Mobile Care Monitoring, we now have an automatically generated report at our fingertips. It’s the same for fluid charts, we just create them with a click of a button from the live evidence of fluids.”
By incorporating new regulations and frameworks into Mobile Care Monitoring, Person Centred Software helps to alleviate any additional burden of documenting manually from care providers.
For instance, from April 2019, care homes were encouraged to move to using IDDSI, a new global framework for texture modified foods and fluids. IDDSI was made mandatory for care providers in Bedfordshire, such as Chiltern View, one of Benslow’s care homes. Debbie says, “A soft diet could mean many different textures, whereas with IDDSI incorporated into Mobile Care Monitoring we have a way to evidence the consistency of food and fluids and reduce the risk of choking and asphyxiation. Agency staff and hospitals are also very clear on what texture diet our residents need.”
Debbie sees moving to Mobile Care Monitoring as change that supports regulators and the social care sector. “CQC absolutely love the system. By using a digital system, we can support the NHS’s Paperless 2020 project for Health and Social Care, and we want to do it as it is so much easier to evidence.”
Debbie concludes, “Going digital will make life so much easier for any Operations Manager. It saves time and money, it’s so easy to evidence, and is efficient. It’s a leap of faith to move from paper, but it’s so worth it.”