How technology is helping overcome language barriers in aged care

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Published in HelloCare

Aged care facilities are turning to innovative, icon-driven technology to overcome language barriers when logging care records – helping to remove pressure on carers who originate from overseas and allowing them to focus on delivering exceptional care instead.

Widely used throughout the global aged care industry, Person Centred Software’s app-based Mobile Care Monitoring allows care staff to access and update resident records in real-time and at the point of delivery. This digital means of documenting care has been proven to save carers up to an hour per day in admin time by going paperless, allowing them to focus on residents first and foremost.

Designed for speed and ease of use, the software is mostly icon-driven with limited need for typing. As well as saving care staff valuable time, the simplicity of the software is helping facilities overcome language barriers between their workforce by removing the need for written language when updating progress notes. As a result, less errors are being made during the documentation process, and there is less room for misinterpretation between carers of different nationalities. With a high proportion of Australia’s aged care workforce coming from countries where English isn’t the main language, this is a huge benefit to facilities using the software.

Nadeem Ahmed, IT Manager at James Milson Village in North Sydney, which has been using Mobile Care Monitoring for over a year, testified: “We employ around 100 care staff in total, and 80% of our workforce are from non-English speaking backgrounds. The majority of our workforce is from Nepal, India and the Philippines, with the Nepalese constituting around 60 – 70 percent. This diversity is fantastic, however we noticed that it presented some challenges when it came to evidencing care.

“Language barriers meant that some carers would struggle to articulate clearly when entering and reading back through progress notes, which was causing confusion between staff, especially around handover.

“Since swapping to Mobile Care Monitoring and their icon-based system, we have noticed a huge improvement in communication between our workforce and a reduction in errors made. Not only has this improved internal communication and boosted team confidence by increasing their contribution to the system, but it’s also given individual carers a sense of responsibility over their residents and an easy way of ensuring progress notes are kept up-to-date,” Nadeem concludes.

Lucy O’Flaherty, CEO of Glenview Community Services, which has been using the software for nearly 12 months, agreed: “We have a huge, very multi-cultural workforce. About half of our staff are Anglo-Saxon workers born in Australia, whilst half were born overseas. This brings amazing opportunities and benefits, but also presents its challenges. For carers from non-English speaking backgrounds, who may not feel comfortable writing in English, Mobile Care Monitoring is the perfect solution. Imagery is its own language, and with the software being so icon-driven, carers aren’t reliant on having to translate something into their mother tongue and then interpreting it. The software provides clarity and removes any chance of misinterpretation, particularly between carers from different backgrounds.”

Tammy Sherwood, CEO of Person Centred Care Australia, said: “Mistakes and miscommunication in aged care can be critical and must be avoided at all costs, so we’re delighted to hear from customers that our software has been helpful in minimising these. By providing carers with a universally easy-to-use platform from which to instantaneously update care notes, where there is also minimal risk of error and misinterpretation, all carers can confidently focus on doing what they do best, which is looking after their residents”.

For more information on Person Centred Software’s Mobile Care Monitoring, please visit:  www.personcentredsoftware.com/au

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