Rachelle Mills, director of innovation and partnerships at KareInn, talks the benefits of digitising residents’ care journeys.
For an industry that is people-centred, we spend too much time managing forms and documents. The government’s Adult Social Care Reform white paper, published earlier this year revealed that only 40% of social care providers are using digitised workflows, with the rest still using paper records.
This is preventing the sector from improving standards and leaving a lot of opportunity on the table. As a result, the government is pushing for 80% of Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered providers to have digital social care records by March 2024.
The information logged on residents as part of essential care plan records helps to ensure happy, healthy and safe residents in our care. Go into a paper-based home and somewhere in the building you will find lever arch files crammed with biographies, medical histories and personalised plans of care.
Sadly, this great quality information is often not close at hand or easy to digest when it is most needed by frontline care assistants.
Like every other complex organisation, a care home can only run as well as the systems and tools allow. So much happens all of the time in a typical care home, so it’s not surprising that paper is an inadequate way to track and pin-point improvements that will make a real difference to the quality of care. In comparison, digital records can turn a jumble of everyday events and activities into usable data.
Data insights to inform long term care
Having an accurate, transparent and holistic view of a person’s day-to-day care via a digital record is beneficial. It allows for care staff to keep pace with ever evolving resident needs, monitor changes and put action plans in place, enabling carers to provide a bespoke care experience for residents and guide them through the essential requirements for the day.
Accessing important information anytime
On a more essential level, allergies, sudden health changes, even information on things that can calm or agitate a resident – need to be close at hand, all the time, ideally in somebody’s pocket. Storing paper records in separate rooms, such as nurses stations adds an unnecessary barrier.
Digital solutions ensure records are kept securely and are fully GDPR compliant, and are also ready to help guide CQC compliancy, instilling confidence that good care home ratings should be maintained, and low ratings quickly improved.
Better communication and improving family feedback
Over 50% of families wouldn’t even consider a care home that didn’t digitally record and make their loved one’s care accessible – meaning the decision to go digital is more important than ever.
Digitised care management apps can give families updates on their loved one’s day to day care. As staff interactions are safely recorded at the point-of-care, families can see an overview of that day’s activities. We typically see that enquiries are reduced as updates increase and this helps to maintain confidence for relatives in the system.
Promoting digital for a bright health and care future
Whilst other areas of our lives have improved immeasurably, our health and social care system still relies on number crunching with pen and paper to quantify the risk of being malnourished or to determine your skin integrity.
For customers moving from paper to digital, we’ve seen a 90-minute time saving as the process of managing assessments such as these, and care plan reviews is more efficient.
Technology holds a pivotal role in allowing care homes to provide a more consistent level of care for their residents. We must increase the number of fully digitised social care providers in the UK to improve on the 40% and deliver on the 80% target set out by the government – could your care setting be next?