Alice Mitroi, Home Manager of Belvedere House, the nursing care home of maritime charity, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, highlights the importance of care planning for ensuring resident wellbeing and a well-run home.
The most important thing in a good care plan is recognising that everyone is unique and, in order to deliver the best quality person-centred care, that the ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work. It is the responsibility of the care provider to assess their care needs in detail and remember that people’s needs can of course change over time, so regularly reviewing care plans is important to ensure a consistent and appropriate level of care. It’s also important to include the service user in developing their own care plan if they are able to make independent decisions, or their next of kin.
Here at Belvedere House, we specialise in providing tailored care to retired seafarers and their dependents, including those living with dementia, and take care planning very seriously. Prior to admission, a pre-assessment takes place, so the home has an understanding of new residents’ needs from the outset. Risk assessments are then carried out within 24 hours of admission and our expert team of nurses undertake a thorough assessment of a residents’ individual care needs. Our team then works with them and their families to develop a bespoke care plan within their first week at the home. After one month, a formal review of the care plan takes place to ensure that residents’ preferences and needs are being met. We then carry out a care review with the resident – if they have capacity – or their next of kin every six months, or whenever the resident’s needs change.
Aside from regularly reviewing our care planning, we’re always looking to innovate by implementing technologies that can better the care provided to our residents, whilst also improving efficiency to support our staff. Utilising digital care plans has enabled us to streamline administration and make better use of our time as care professionals. In the past, we would spend lots of time filling out paper reports, but today we use Ablyss tablet technology to pass residents’ medical and patient notes between staff. This significantly reduces admin time and means we can spend more time on resident care.
Carers use hand-held devices and update medical notes in the moment on the tablet, meaning all important information is captured in real time. Each resident has their own profile containing everything a new staff member would need to know about them, meaning more safety for residents and reassurance for staff, allowing them to quickly build relationships with residents and understand their needs.
The technology means messages can be sent between staff members instantly, making the exchange of non-urgent information easier and allowing for a seamless and efficient transfer of staff when working shift patterns. One element of using care planning technology that has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, when family members have been unable to visit, is capturing images and videos of residents to share with their relatives, which has been incredibly important during these difficult times.
Whilst a key part of care planning is looking ahead and trying to prepare for every eventuality, the current circumstances show this isn’t always possible. Therefore, ensuring you have processes and procedures in place to easily adapt to changing or rapidly evolving situations is crucial, particularly when we have a duty of care to our residents. Having a robust approach to person-centred care planning and the ability to be agile in delivering this support, will ensure that residents, and staff, continue to benefit from the very highest level of care.