As the population ages, with more and more people living longer, the incidence of falls becomes a significant public health challenge. Falls are of particular concern in the social care sector, where care home residents are three times more likely to fall than those living at home -and ten times more likely to sustain a significant injury - this is because people living in care homes are generally older, frailer, and have limited mobility, making them particularly vulnerable to the impact of falls.
The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) reports that falls are the leading cause of emergency hospital admission.
With this in mind, it's essential to provide proper care and supervision to residents prone to falling or at a greater risk of falling; they should not be left unsupervised or allowed to move around independently without proper precautions. The process is all about risk assessment and prevention.
For a long time, fall prevention in the social care sector was heavily reliant on human intervention, watching and assisting the vulnerable with mobility. Carers had to remain vigilant and on guard at all times, whether it was a resident using the restroom, entering the lounge, or going outside for fresh air, which is incredibly challenging in large facilities operating around the clock.
Today's technology has significantly changed how we support people, improving time management, providing care in the social sector, alleviating many pressures and adding an extra layer of protection to ensure residents' health, safety, and wellbeing.
With the advancements in technology, we now have access to software such as mCare, a digital social care record system that helps monitor residents' hydration levels. This system provides 24-hour monitoring of the fluids offered to residents and consumed by residents, with carers being able to personalise each resident's fluid needs, specifying their fluid requirements, whether a fluid target needs to be met, or if a fluid cap is in place due to a medical condition. Customer studies indicate that implementing mCare reduced falls by 33%.
With the rapid advancement of technology, it has become increasingly evident that incorporating it into care and support services is vital for providing high-quality and personalised care to residents.
At Madison Court, the transition to Person Centred Software's digital social care record system was seamless.
As a home that provides care for individuals with dementia, keeping up with care records was quite overwhelming; however, since implementing mCare, our staff quickly became proficient at using the software and integrated it into their daily work routine, making the process much more manageable.
With mCare, our residents receive a higher quality of care. Instead of rushing through the daily routine of getting them ready and changed, we now have more time to provide extra attention to our residents, such as doing their nails, having conversations, engaging with them more, and giving them more TLC.
In addition, by utilising software to document residents' fluid intake in real-time, carers can immediately see which residents haven't had sufficient fluids and take the appropriate action required. The fluid offered to residents, and the amount drunk in millilitres can be easily evidenced at the point of delivery on Person Centred Software's Care Delivery App. Reminders to offer drinks can also be set up as part of a planned care routine.
Simplifying the process
mCare simplifies the process even further by using a traffic light system to alert staff when a care task is due or when a resident is falling below the recommended fluid threshold for the rolling 24-hour period - this helps to flag the need for immediate intervention, allowing staff to take necessary actions in a timely manner.
Implementing innovative software like mCare helps to prevent dehydration among residents and can help care homes ensure optimal hydration levels are maintained, reducing the likelihood of hospital admissions. Good hydration is crucial to preventing UTIs, low blood pressure, and even more serious medical episodes like seizures. Care homes can significantly reduce the chances of adverse incidents by providing carers with valuable fluid data.
Furthermore, mCare allows our carers to meticulously analyse any incidents, trace what actions led up to them and prevent further incidents from occurring. For example, at Maddison Court, we can now spot patterns and adjust our practices to support our residents better.
It's evident that collecting data can significantly assist carers, enabling them to make responsive decisions that benefit all involved.
With falls being the most common cause of emergency hospital admissions, it's clear that technology needs to be fully embraced so care providers can analyse any incidents, trace what actions led up to them and prevent future incidents from occurring.
So, to anyone still hesitant about moving away from a paper-based approach, I encourage you to look at going digital. mCare can rapidly transform how you deliver care to your residents, helping drive outstanding care, enhancing resident outcomes, the lives of care workers, the delivery of person-centred care and the overall efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance of care settings.
About Harbour Healthcare
Harbour Healthcare has made significant strides since its establishment in 2012 as a family-run care provider. Over the years, the organisation has expanded their services across England and Wales, each committed to delivering exceptional residential, nursing, and dementia care.