Published in Surrey Care Association, Care Home Environment
In the run up to Christmas, Person Centred Software is helping families keep in touch with their loved ones to combat loneliness in care homes through its online Relatives Gateway portal. The Relatives Gateway is a secure online portal, part of the Mobile Care Monitoring service from Person Centred Software, that enables friends and family of those living in care homes to stay informed about their care as well as share messages and photos to keep in touch.
The Relatives Gateway aims to also improve residents’ emotional and physical health. Over 80% of adults with mental health problems in UK nursing homes suffer from loneliness, according to research by a University of Bedfordshire student in 2015. And loneliness is as damaging to people’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day reports the Campaign to End Loneliness.
Andrew Coles, Head of Product Management at Person Centred Software says, “Typically, families feel a great deal of grief and guilt at ‘not being able to cope’ with looking after their family member at Christmas, and residents in care homes are more vulnerable to feeling isolated and lonely. The Relatives Gateway not only keeps families much more connected to their family member but dispels their fears about care homes.
The Relatives Gateway also gives value back to carers too, since it shows and recognises everything that they do, from key activities to the smallest acts of kindness.” Care homes are already using Relatives Gateway to support residents and their families. The Beeches, a 110-bed Signature nursing home in Essex, has been using Mobile Care Monitoring for its electronic care records since November 2016, with Relatives Gateway being used by over 70 relatives to keep in touch with family members in the home.
Alison Jayawardena, Care Services Manager at The Beeches says, “Person Centred Software’s Relatives Gateway has sustained and developed trust with families of our residents, and it has strengthened the culture of openness and transparency. In 2017, The Beeches Care Management Team won the Cavell Award for Excellence in Care for Older People Team, in part due to the Relatives Gateway.”
Designed to promote inclusive and transparent care, care homes using Relatives Gateway can give family members peace of mind through easy online access to records, charts and analysis about their loved ones. Photos and messages showing their loved one enjoying meals, activities and trips can be shared through the secure system.
Care plan reviews can also be signed electronically by those with power of attorney. Christine, whose Mum has dementia and is being cared for at The Beeches, describes Relatives Gateway as her lifeline. “I don’t feel like I’m pestering carers for updates with it. I look at the Relatives Gateway every night, especially when I’m away on holiday and can’t come to visit. It’s like she’s with me; I know she’s happy and taking part in activities.”
Relatives of residents at Graham Care group of seven care homes in Kent and Surrey, have been using the Relatives Gateway as part of Mobile Care Monitoring since 2018 to view details about how their loved ones have spent their day.
Ernie Graham, co-owner of the Graham Care Group adds, “The Relatives Gateway offers a great deal of reassurance to families, something vitally important given the great responsibility entrusted to us in caring for their family member. It’s a nice surprise for relatives to discover that the cutting-edge technology we use means they can keep in touch wherever they are in the world.”
John Stimpson, whose brother is a resident at Hale Place Care Home, an Outstanding rated care home in Kent, is an avid user of the Relatives Gateway. He says, “My brother became a resident at Hale Place around two years ago and I’ve had access to Relatives Gateway virtually all that time. Because of the distance from where I live, I visit my brother regularly once a month. Communication is difficult as he had a stroke and now cannot talk. It is really nice to check in to the Relatives Gateway and find out his general state of mind and happiness as I can’t visit every day.” Relatives Gateway is also invaluable for relatives who live on the other side of the world.
Claire Bibby, Support Manager at Belong Atherton, near Manchester says, “I am really proud that we are able to showcase what we actually do at the village. We had a relative from Australia, and she was able to access her dad’s records to see the magical moments that we were capturing for her dad in his day to day life. Staff are really motivated with recording care so that we can show families exactly what the residents are participating in.”
Person Centred Software provides its electronic care planning and evidence of care system, Mobile Care Monitoring which includes the Relatives Gateway, to over 1,500 care homes in the UK, supporting over 50,000 service users. The system provides enormous benefit to residents as it helps care staff to save the equivalent of three days every month on paperwork, giving them more time to spend with residents, helping to combat loneliness and improving the quality of care.