How technology is changing care delivery during a pandemic

Whilst the pandemic has thrown into light major challenges for the care industry, care homes have proven to play a vital role in Coronavirus strategies and preventative measures. With the help of innovative and fast-moving technology, now more than ever, we are seeing the benefits of a digitised health system and how it can work to help modernise care systems throughout the UK.

Even in a pre-pandemic world the fast-moving changes in technology, such as the development of care home management software packages have kick-started a more streamlined approach to managing care, whilst creating benefits for both staff and residents. The updated Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs) mean that to be rated as outstanding on CQC (Care Quality Commission) inspections, care facilities should demonstrate they are using innovative solutions, such as incorporating technology to deliver effective and high quality care. This has led to a widespread adoption of care home software to help streamline care delivery and improve hygiene processes in the pandemic crisis.

Recent start-ups such as software providers Log my Care[1] have introduced electronic care planning systems that have revolutionised care home management. After extensive research and speaking to the care community, they have developed an app and accompanying software with carers in mind. It aims to save time whilst simultaneously providing digital care plans for individuals that are secure (and meet GDPR guidelines), kept up to date, and uphold CQC requirements.

Thanks to this technology, care delivery has been streamlined and carers can spend more time giving 1-2-1 care. Tasks can be distributed to staff, who update care plans on the mobile app in real time at the point of care delivery – doing away with paper care notes which usually have to be updated at the end of a shift. Using electronic care notes can also reduce the risk of Covid-19 contamination through sharing hard copies of notes between members of staff. Where care home software uses mobile apps for carers, the sharing of devices can be limited as staff can use a personal phone – providing they are cleaned on entering and exiting places of care, and regularly throughout the day.

This type of software can also be configured to know what an individual’s usual routine is, allowing staff to update only the relevant sections on a care plan, and help provide high quality person-centred care. It also means that in times of staff sickness (or even isolation), different staff members can easily pick up routines for individuals, so handovers become easy and care is not disrupted. Individual health conditions can also be monitored and tracked, and clinically vulnerable individuals can have their care plans adapted to reduce the risk of Coronavirus spreading.

Care home managers can distribute and oversee tasks easily from a centralised digital system, manage staff rotas, and monitor any incidents. This enables clearer and more effective communication for staff and helps care to be delivered more efficiently. This is especially helpful where the care force is experiencing unusually high levels of staff sickness, and it means that managers can easily spot in advance where gaps in care might be.

On top of that, all of the data can be analysed by the software itself and used to create charts and graphs of the whole care home, or to monitor an individual’s full health metrics in order to spot changes in trends (such as sleeping, drinking, eating, or blood pressure). This can be especially helpful for monitoring health trends and can help to point out when care plans may need to be adapted as individual needs change – for example if an individual needed to be put into isolation.

As care home management software is a rapidly expanding area of tech, it is no surprise that Log my Care has gone one step further and introduced a specific Care Home Coronavirus Software[2] to help the care community even further during the pandemic crisis. With new support, the updates include:

  • A respiratory rate chart (to monitor breathing patterns)
  • A symptom recording feature to help understand the chronology of a new cough and if it is likely to be symptomatic of Covid-19
  • A temperature recording tool to help track one of the major Covid-19 symptoms.

All of these tools can be monitored on a symptom dashboard which even flags up visual warning clues to help Care Managers assess and implement care plans for potential Coronavirus patients. There are also free templates available, such as key worker letters, coronavirus contingency plans, and Covid-19 risk assessments. All of these new adaptations to care home software are helping ease the burden of a pandemic and care crisis for the care community.

Clearly technology will always have to adapt to face new challenges brought about by the pandemic, but it has a clear place in care homes, and when used to its full potential can dramatically streamline care and management processes. It can be used to help manage staff rotas and contact staff last minute, or even schedule meetings in advance and send reminders to attendees. Using management software can also help carers and staff to be split into ‘bubbles’ and reduce the risk of cross contamination throughout a care home, protecting staff and residents alike.

Where vulnerable care home residents need specialist care from consultants or local hospitals, tech enabled health services can allow video consultations or phone calls, creating a safer socially distant way to access specialist clinical advice. This can be incredibly helpful in care homes where coronavirus restrictions are in place, or where people are particularly vulnerable due to age or health conditions. Digitalised care notes can also be easily shared between locations where physical visits are limited, making collaboration of health services more efficient.

Log my Care’s new care planning tool is available free of charge and is accessible on both the App Store and Google Play, making it quick and easy to download and trial. It is easy to get in contact to ask any questions, and there’s a step by step guide available for those wish to trial the system.

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