The Individual Impact of Digital Care Management

Care providers far and wide are already making the transition to digital care management; benefiting from higher quality care plans and notes, compliant and accurate audit trails and a greater degree of control across the management process.

These benefits are being felt at every level, from care managers and carers to the people they care for and their families. Here, we talk to three experienced care providers about the individual impact Nourish Care is having across the entire care service.

How does Nourish impact carers?

For carers, Nourish is empowerment at the point of care. By using well designed and easy to use applications on handheld devices, carers can record notes as they go.

Carers are thereby able to focus a lot more on the person they are working with, and encouraged to record the person-centred care notes that inspectors say distinguishes a care service. Recording notes alongside care also promotes greater clarity, adds useful context and ensures all information is recorded as soon as possible – not forgotten over the course of the day. Recording as they go, carers have the opportunity to really demonstrate the great quality of care they are giving.

Simon Francis, IT Project Manager at Silverline Care, commented: “The main thing for our carers is that the recording of notes is a lot easier. What they were doing beforehand was having to provide care and then try and hold all that information until the end of the shift. Care for residents is now much more to the point and accessible. There is better communication between staff and everyone involved in the client’s care can see what care has already been provided by others. This has made handover a lot easier. It also means input from the carers feeds directly into the care plan, meaning it’s updated within minutes of it taking place. Recording in real time means we don’t lose any important information.”

Paul Dennis-Andrews, Operations Manager at Encompass, has been working with the Nourish Care since spring 2016. He added: “The digital care management system has had a highly positive impact on the overall culture of our service – more than we ever would have thought. Staff who might have had difficulties with the written word are enthused by the ability to speak verbally into the devices to record information. It has been a refreshing and efficient change to a longstanding process of handwritten documentation.

“The large collection of paper files has been replaced with discrete modern handsets and tablets that staff can keep on their person, promoting highly person-centred support exactly how the individual would like to receive it. Documentation is recorded live and visible immediately to anyone with permission, and every aspect of the system is customisable and can be evolved to needs.”

What is the impact on care managers?

Probably one of the biggest benefits for senior carers and care managers is that all information is in one place and accessible at any time. Care notes and assessments feed directly into the care plans and can be accessed by all who need to see them. This develops a culture of knowledge-sharing and allows for more effective care monitoring and visibility of critical information in real-time.

Digital care management also allows for instant reporting, which gives managers back their time to ‘walk the floor’ and interact with their staff and clients.

Megan Read, Care Home Manager of Grassington House emphasises how the digital system has improved her ability to manage: “Because I have a digital overview of real-time information I can easily monitor what is happening within the home. I can set up anything I want to be recorded, schedule things for the carers to be aware of and make sure that nothing is getting missed.

“For when I’m conducting care plan reviews, I can look at the logs that carers input to directly review and evidence any changes made. Beforehand, you would have had to look through endless files and pages, and you simply wouldn’t be able to go through it all. Now, I have no files in the office, everything is on the system; my office can literally move around with me anywhere.”

Simon agreed: “In leadership, the digital system is allowing managers to spot issues more quickly; alerts raised by carers come straight through to the manager, who can then respond quickly and with all the necessary information”.

Paul added: “Monitoring the quality of the support provided is much more efficient and less intrusive; utilising the Cloud to view live records. It is easier to ensure care is being given and support is provided how the individual would like to receive it. Teams are now positively communicating and sharing ideas, and where changes are required, managers can make these instantly, either across the organisation or simply for individual.”

Managers can also easily establish what information they want recorded, and monitor whether this is being followed. Megan states: “As a manager I can literally prompt what information I want recorded from carers and when. The amount of detail I can now see in recorded notes is amazing compared to what it used to be on paper.”

Simon has also experienced improved quality of care information: “During the transfer to digital care management, we’ve been able to see the quality of our care plans. It is an impossible feat to trail through reams of paper plans for every single resident, but with digital we can check care plans easily and demand the quality we want. It’s meant we can really see the overall process and make sure the right care is being delivered in line with the residents wishes.”

How does the digital care management system impact the people you care for?

As Simon and Paul state, by recording care as you go, you create a more person-centred and accessible quality of care and you have more time available. Carers have the tools and information they need to provide personal and responsive care, and with extra time, can involve the resident directly and sociably in inputting the care notes.

Megan encourages her carers to be sociable and engage the residents when writing notes; this can mean sitting down with the resident, having a cup of tea and a real conversation about how the resident is doing. She has found that residents prefer the digital care management system once they understand it because carers are able to spend more time with them. Megan commented: “Carers can be sociable and engage with residents so they can contribute to their own notes, keeping them much more involved with their care. Beforehand, carers would have to spend time away from the residents at the end of the shift completing paperwork. The digital system is also really useful for bi-annual reviews; I can hold a meeting in the lounge and connect my laptop to the main screen so we can all see the information and have a really good chat about the care plan with the resident – it’s a lot more involved, but also efficient, and residents like to be able to see their care plans so easily.”

Care information recorded electronically is also much easier to share; not only with other medical professionals, but also with close friends and family. Innovative care providers can utilise existing resources and involve these other parties from the very beginning; you can enable a service user to design their own care plan, involve family members in the on-boarding process or allow informal carers to contribute directly to the care notes. Having a digital system opens up vast opportunities to get better connected with the whole circle of care.

By enabling better communication and ensuring information is shared with those who need to know, your care team will be more aware of the individual service user’s needs; and ultimately, informed care leads to better care.

Get in touch today to see how digital care management can work for you.