By Jonathan Papworth, Co-Founder of Person Centred Software
I read with horror, as I’m sure you did, that more than 1,000 care home patients in England and Wales have died suffering from malnutrition, dehydration or bedsores, as reported in The Guardian last November*. These figures are from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which completed an analysis of death certificates at the newspaper’s request. The ONS acknowledged that ‘it is possible that poor care may have been a factor in some of the deaths’.
However, Professor Laurence Lovat, leading a study into the impact of good care on life expectancy at UCL (University College London) says, “The report by the Office of National Statistics may well underestimate the magnitude of the issue.”
At Person Centred Software, we are working with UCL to understand the impact of good care on care home residents’ wellbeing. Professor Laurence Lovat explains, “Our research is looking at using big data analysis of routinely collected information by care home workers to identify patterns which predict development of malnutrition and dehydration. This will lead to simple early interventions to prevent this entirely avoidable cause of death in vulnerable care home residents.”
So how can you as an operator support your staff with the tools and practices to ensure good care for your residents? The best answer is to move to a paperless electronic system for care records and care plans. The data you record about residents is then a proactive tool that drives quality, reduces risk and enables your service to be effective and responsive. This means you can give the best care for residents, whatever stage of life they are in.
For instance, rather than guess what people have drunk and risk them being dehydrated, staff can accurately and immediately evidence fluids they have offered, and residents have drunk. With access to precise evidence of care, fluids can be monitored, and risks are greatly reduced, not just to dehydration. And there can be additional benefits to a resident’s health, as one care home group found that by monitoring fluids electronically, they were able to also reduce falls by 33%.
To see first-hand the benefits of an electronic care system, book a demo of our Mobile Care Monitoring system by contacting us on 01483 604108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was published in Care Home Professional’s Tech Talk feature.