Improving care communication in Dumfries and Galloway
The digital care system has transformed care and communication. And not just at Notwen House near Lockerbie, but with external agencies across Dumfries and Galloway.
Care Home Manager, Sheena Cringean, says, “Mobile Care Monitoring has improved communication across the whole home because everyone can see what everyone else has been doing on their device in real-time. Rather than trail through thousands and thousands of notes for something specific, I can easily find handover notes to collate and share records with external agencies like hospitals, GPs, and social workers.
“Person Centred Software’s system collates a hospital pack for each resident and links all the observations and escalation plans we’ve been completing during the Covid-19 pandemic. It works well for communicating with the hospital. They don’t need to phone us to get information about a resident.
“We also use the hospital pack as a transition document if a resident is transferring to another home, which other nearby care homes in Dumfries and Galloway find very useful.”
Watch the Notwen House video interview
Gives staff more time to spend with residents
Mobile Care Monitoring is designed to be easy to use for care staff. Lorene has worked as a carer for over 30 years at Notwen House. She reflects, “Before we started using Person Centred Software’s system, recording daily notes and care plans would take two or three hours per shift and I was off the floor completely.
“I can go home on time now and spend more time with residents when I’m at work.”
“I spent a long time sitting down writing records, which meant I wasn’t spending time with residents, which is who I wanted to be spending time with.”
Sheena Cringean, Care Manager agrees, “Lorene would finish her shift between eight and nine o’clock and she would be here until ten thirty updating records.”
“I can go home on time now and spend more time with residents when I’m at work,” continues Lorene. “The system is so easy to use and it’s easier to record care as we’re doing it. At the start of my shift we used to come and read a book to get the handover information, which took a lot longer than looking at the handheld devices we evidence care on now.
“If a doctor phones, I used to have to go and look information up on paperwork. Now I use the app on the device, it’s so easy to find what they need.”
“From my perspective as care manager, Person Centred Software’s system is much easier to use than paper,” adds Sheena.
“The system has made a difference to my life. It’s a lot easier for monitoring.”
“Before, nutrition monitors were in the bedroom, so we would have to track back through paper. Now, information is available at a touch of a button. I can find out what staff have been doing with residents. I can do an investigation using documentation if necessary.
“There’s far more evidence logged. Before, notes for the day for a resident were minimal. It was: ‘Had a good day, good fluid intake,’ maybe ‘Had a visitor’. But now staff are recording everything they do with residents.”
Decision to use Person Centred Software’s system
Notwen House chose to move from another digital care planning system to Person Centred Software’s Mobile Care Monitoring in 2019.
Sheena explains why, “I observed that the previous digital care planning system we had still meant that staff were spending a lot of time on documentation.
“If you’re going to put technology into your care home, it should save you and your staff time. It shouldn’t make things more difficult; it shouldn’t even mean that things stay the same. If you’re going to spend money on something, it should improve things.
“We were spending money on a prior digital care planning system that was of no benefit whatsoever. Staff were still documenting care at 10pm and using the system was a chore. The system was dependent on what staff wrote down, and in that respect was no different to a paper care plan.”
Training in a new digital care planning system
“I was very frightened and didn’t think I’d cope with a new evidence of care system but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” reflects Lorene.
“I’ve been here for 30 years. I thought ‘How am I going to cope with this?’ because I’m not good at computers. But I took to it like a duck to water.
“We had training one day and got started that day. Sheena showed me what I’d recorded on the app, and I was so proud of myself.
“Within a week or two I was showing other people how use the system too.”
“All the other carers said to me, ‘Lorene, if you get stuck, just come and ask me’. When they showed me, I went on and did it. Within a week or two I was showing other people how use the system too.”
Sheena agrees, “after training, the amount that Lorene was recording was phenomenal.”
“I would recommend it to other homes based on how easy it is to get up and running. I’ve seen a lot of change here, but this was the best change I’ve seen!” adds Lorene.
Care planning transition
Sheena says, “A lot of information was really easy to transfer over. It was easy to copy and paste and I felt that it gave us an opportunity to update some of the care plans. The evidence of care that carers record in the app feeds into the care plan so it just streamlines everything. I can set reminders for how often I want reviews to be done and it’s immediately on my desktop telling me that things are needing done!”
“Using the system has made us more of a team.”
Lorene agrees, “Using the system has made us more of a team. By planning care activities in, everyone can see when it needs to be done. It means that we can support each other.”
Care homes can share information with families through the Relatives Gateway. “When we were getting started, we showed families devices and things we were recording and relatives were all really impressed,” says Sheena.
“The system has made a difference to my life. It’s a lot easier for monitoring. Even when I’m at home I can check things. We’re having to do a lot of monitoring now, various things for Covid-19, and I can just pick it up from the system whenever and wherever I am,” Sheena concludes.