A recent study featuring leading electronic care planning software provider Nourish Care has been featured in the Nursing and Residential Care Journal, evidencing how electronic care planning has benefitted the care sector in regards to job satisfaction and the delivery of person-centred care.
The study, titled Electronic Care Planning and Care Worker Engagement, was conducted by Graham Brittain, an independent consultant with over 30 years’ experience in social care, for his MBA from Plymouth University. Graham looked into a number of care services using the Nourish platform, to find out what effects it has on carer engagement.
The research, which involved interviewing eight employees from a care service face-to-face, and over 120 employees via survey, found extremely positive results regarding improved efficiency, morale, job satisfaction and level of care being provided across all staff, from care workers and senior care workers, to managers and senior managers.
The study also reported that respondents felt there was greater pride being taken in work by care teams, which is largely due to the autonomy provided by Nourish. One respondent said the carers were “constantly thinking about the next step and what needs to be done”, overall finding that things were completed to a much higher standard and there was a resounding acceptance of the new digital way of working.
Nourish Care is a digital platform that allows carers to record at the point of care, with the aim to streamline administrative processes and give teams time to provide more person-centred care. Nourish works with a number of care services, including residential homes, nursing homes, learning disability services, mental health services and large care groups.
Findings from this study indicate that those using the Nourish platform are seeing an extremely positive impact on their working environment. Nourish was designed with carers in mind, to make their life easier as well as improve the quality of life for those they support. The findings reinforce how Nourish is changing the lives of so many, both those in care and those working in care. One respondent said: “Overall I think it’s boosted morale a lot because we have got a lot more time to spend with the people that we support.”
Digital transformation and acceptance
One of the main things that care services are worried about in regards to going digital is the training and transformation process. Many older carers who have been working in the sector for quite some time are often reluctant to use an electronic device through fear of technology hindering the process.
In the study, of which 53% of respondents were aged 40 or over, the technology was universally accepted, with one respondent stating: “I think it kind of shocked us all how well it has been embraced.” This is something that is commonly seen during Nourish training, and in many cases, it’s those who were most reluctant to begin with who finish the training saying they never want to go back to the old way of working.
Quality, efficiency and morale
Other themes explored in the study included productivity and efficiency, in which all interviewees believed that Nourish had helped them get more done and that tasks were completed more efficiently. It was also noted that while tasks were completed quicker, this did not impact on quality of work. In fact, all respondents said that greater pride was being taken, nothing was being missed, and things were overall completed to a much higher standard than they were previously.
Further to this, the study found one feature in particular to be hugely beneficial to confidence amongst care teams. The Direct Messaging feature was highlighted as a main factor in such seamless communication, not just for handovers, but for voicing any concerns or ideas the team may have too. One respondent said: “I think it’s just empowered people instantly and not only people we support but also people we employ too.” The study showed it significantly enhanced accountability and responsibility amongst the teams, which is ultimately what empowers them to do the best that they can.
It concluded that electronic care planning tools play a vital role in the digital transformation of health and social care services. Organisational engagement of carers was enhanced with the implementation of electronic care planning.
Nourish is very pleased to see that electronic care planning is being recognised as having an important role in the future of care, and will continue to improve their platform to enhance the lives of those living and working within a care setting.
Nuno Almeida, Founder of Nourish Care, said: “Digital transformation in social and health care has been remarkably slow. Barriers to adoption frequently mentioned include the reluctance of care teams to use digital tools, or the lack of evidence of the impact of such tools.
“At Nourish we are eager to have the impact of our services independently verified. This study is an important milestone as it provides evidence of the impact of digital care planning on staff, assessing and confirming many of the benefits that we hear from clients anecdotally.
“Evidence like this is essential to accelerate the momentum of digital transformation across social care, and has far reaching implications. This should inform key stakeholders across the sector on the importance of well managed digital transformation in delivering improvements to both quality of care, and in empowering staff.”
Graham said: “This research took a mixed methods approach to explore the impact of the Nourish electronic care planning system on carers and their levels of engagement.
“Overall the findings were positive – in both organisations studied, an employee survey showed motivation and commitment levels were extremely high and in qualitative interviews this was associated with the benefits of the system. In particular, this was because it saved time, reducing the burden of hand written reporting, thereby freeing up time to spend with residents. Whilst the technology was not seen as an engagement benefit by everyone, the findings showed that those carers who recognised the benefits were also the most committed and engaged overall.
“The key implication of this study is in confirming that an added value benefit of employee engagement may be gained from the implementation of digital systems in social care.”