Now more than ever care homes can benefit from digital evidencing, tracking and tracing with the use of a digital care planning and care home management software. Now is the perfect time to start building a business case for digital care planning.
Families, residents and third party support networks can stay connected whilst reducing exposure, through secure digital family and resident portals.
Prospects can take virtual tours of homes and get a real sense of the culture, quality and care the home provides.
CQC and regulatory bodies can benefit from the detailed reporting that digitally evidenced care provides. CCGs and other services can access critical resident information securely and offer support virtually.
Home visits may have been reduced but compliance, wellbeing and creative ways of improving care and responsiveness are on the up, so now may be a very good time for your care home to make the jump from paper to digital. For many clients, COVID has become the wake-up call they needed to ensure their care homes manage compliance in the most efficient way possible.
If you’ve decided now is the time to make the move to digital care planning, then here are a few things to consider as you look at the different software providers out there.
Moving from your existing paper-based or digital care planning process is not just about system implementation, it will also involve managing behavioural and cultural change in an environment that is on high alert due to COVID. We recognise this and it’s why our clients appreciate our approach. The following four steps should be part of building your business case for digital care planning.
1. Prepare for managing change
Each individual in your organisation will be impacted differently. Take your IT manager for example, as a result of implementing a new system their remit will expand to include a degree of ownership for the Care Plan. Recognising how they feel about this and agreeing where their responsibility starts and ends are crucial to a positive implementation.
You also need to recognise that some people will find change hard especially with everything else that’s going on. Identify how you will manage this in advance and introduce benefits that will make this a positive journey. The staff most opposed to the change will end up becoming your biggest advocates and change agents if you prepare in the right way.
2. Insist on an evaluation.
If the companies you are liaising with are confident that you will love their system and service then ask them for an evaluation period before having to sign any long term contracts. Evaluations have many benefits. They allow you to try before you buy, observe their adaption to infection control measurements and ensure the partnership works well for your business. They also allow you to provide evidence to any internal sceptics.
During the evaluation think about whether the system is flexible, and fits seamlessly with how you run your residential care or nursing home or whether you are having to adapt styles to suit the system.
You can also think about introducing the system to a control group of residents so that you can set up a comparison experiment. An example of this would be introducing the system to just ten residents on one floor of your home and keeping the other floors as a normal control to compare against. In this way, you can soon start demonstrating achievements against your success criteria.
If you are clear on your evaluation criteria in advance (see point four), this is an opportunity to collect evidence to support your decision making. A nice ancillary benefit is that this creates a pull effect, where carers outside of the evaluation group want to learn more about the system, and when they start seeing the benefits it has to offer they want to know how quickly they can have it too!
3. Spend the most time with your biggest sceptic
Early on in our journey, we went to train a few carers at a residential care home. We sat down to start the session and it became apparent that one carer was particularly opposed to the introduction of our software. Why? Well, we never found out the underlying reason. Nervous of change, a dislike of technology, or just a bad day. But we made sure we spent just a little more time with her and slowly but surely, she became convinced of the merits of our app.
She is now one of the biggest advocates of our system in the home, regularly sends us feedback on how to improve the system and even teaches other staff how to use it. Amazing. The other members of staff look to her as a bellwether – this is a classic change management technique. If you can make your biggest sceptic an advocate of the system, the rest of your team will more easily follow suit.
4. Work out what value you want from moving to a digital care plan
Before you start your journey you must know what it is you want to achieve. It sounds obvious, but not knowing becomes the source of uncertainty as your journey progresses. So set out your goals. What do you want going digital to accomplish?
Each company has a slightly different answer to these questions. Here are some examples:
- We want daily diaries to take a 1/4 of the time it currently takes each carer;
- We want to be able to provide more care at the point of delivery;
- We want to ensure our residents and staff are safe from infection and that we have a strict infection control process in place.
- We want to improve staff morale by giving them better tools to care with;
- We want to provide better insights into residents wellbeing;
- We want to replace a paper process that is cumbersome and time-consuming;
- We want to utilise our carers social media and mobile skills in their working life
- We want to provide more personalised care; and
- We want to increase the transparency of what is happening across the company
(Psst, our solution does all of the above!)
For some it is all about productivity, others about providing better care. For almost everyone, it is about a combination of factors.
For guidance from the CQC on the benefits of technology in your care homes click here.
We agree with our clients their success criteria upfront and then use it to generate bespoke reports throughout the evaluation period. It makes for a solid partnership between you and us if we know what your aspirations are from the beginning.
If you would like to know more about what we are doing, evaluate our product, or pick our brains on industry best practice, please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you and are happy to help you build your business case for digital care planning.