Digital care home management systems aren’t just for the Barchesters and Bupas of the industry, they are also crucial for independent operators that must meet exactly the same CQC standards as the giants as Zoe Bates, owner of Valerie Manor, explains.
Valerie Manor provides care for up to 23 residents in a historic 17th century home in the South Downs village of Upper Beeding.
The property was taken over by its current owner Zoe Bates in 2008. At the time it offered just 15 beds, but was remodelled, reconfigured and extended in 2011 with the addition of an extension housing 13 new bedrooms, ancillary rooms, a new dining room, conservatory and a commercial kitchen.
It wasn’t just the property that needed modernising when Ms Bates arrived, she also inherited a chaotic management system entirely based on paper records.
Valerie Manor today uses CoolCare from LNT Software for all its business and care management automation, but the solution was not the first option Ms Bates tested.
“I tried two other rival systems. One was not fit for purpose and the service that we received was appalling, causing us more work and stress. The other system was quite good, however we felt it was complicated for staff to use,” she recalls.
CoolCare bagged the business based on its functionality, and also the professionalism of its customer service. “From the first contact that we made through to implementation and support, we have been very impressed and I can’t recommend the system enough. I have met with quite a few potential clients to talk to them about the system as I realise it is quite a big step to take and implement a new system and get staff on board,” Ms Bates describes.
Valerie Manor uses CoolCare for all aspects of residents care, staff management including training, annual leave planning, absence analysis; and for the management of maintenance within the home to ensure it does not miss mandatory checks.
In addition, it meets all the reporting requirements of the Care Quality Commission. “All notes are captured on CoolCare and can be accessed from a quality assurance point of view, for example compliments, complaints, accidents etc. which saves valuable time in the busy setting. We recently had our CQC inspection and were delighted to achieve the first ‘Outstanding’ rating in West Sussex. I used CoolCare throughout the inspection to source relevant evidence in relation to residents care, recruitment records and training records,” Bates says.
Valerie Manor is an advocate for CoolCare, and a cheerleader for automating care home management in general, irrespective of which solution is used. “I think the use of a care home management system is invaluable in the current climate to allow staff to be able to focus more on providing the care of the residents instead of trawling through reams of paperwork to find outcomes and relevant evidence or previous diagnosis etc.
“When a GP visits we have all previous visits, samples taken, observations, weights, relatives’ comments, at the touch of a button. The system is also so beneficial for saving nurses valuable time in care planning and recorded relevant care plan reviews,” Ms Bates explains.
Having successfully expanded and upgraded Valerie Manor into an ‘outstanding’ 23 bed home, Ms Bates now has her sights set on growing the property even further. “We own 1.4 acres of land adjacent to Valerie Manor which is currently being included as part of the local neighbourhood plan as we run at 100% occupancy and we do not feel that there are currently enough services for the older generation in this area. We don’t have any detailed plans or thoughts for this yet apart from knowing there is an increasing need for our ageing population,” she hints.