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Using technology to advantage in health, aged, social services and home care
The CQC fundamental standards highlight the need to support people to express their views and be actively involved in making decisions about their home care, treatment and support. Organisations need to show that staff routinely involve people who use their services, in planning and making decisions about their care and treatment. The era of health professionals deciding care and goals is over. Technology can support residents, clients, staff and managers alike, achieve these aims if the right type of technology / software is used.
Staff are responsible for ensuring a person’s clinical, medical and care needs, preferences and lifestyle choices are professionally assessed, and that a care plan is created that describes all these. If the resident is to be involved as possible in the process, technology needs to enable them to contribute to these assessments and plans. Does your technology support a resident’s contribution to care planning?
Technology also has to aid staff reduce the documentation burden but what is the aim of documentation? Documentation has to capture e.g. cultural, social and religious needs and determine how these relate to care. Staff must take this information into account when delivering services. Technology should not just collect ‘staff actions taken’data. Staff need to know which meals to provide, how to support activities of daily living, but also residents’ emotional functional/ physical support needs, continence needs and the pain management strategies to utilise all day. We work in aged care because we care what happens to older persons or those requiring support, hence the data we collect has to be meaningful. Technology solutions must record a holistic assessment of all aspects of a person’s life for staff to address each day – not just the tasks undertaken by staff – and automatically make care plans from the assessment data captured.
How can technology do this? Apps designed to gather preferences, choices and clinical information for residents and staff, that interface dynamically with a full clinical, social, medication and operations’ management software system, from any tablet or phone, are now available by quality software providers. Technology can also auto-alert health and care professionals re key information held by these products. For example, beacon technology can be used to push critical client or resident information to a device as staff walk past a beacon disc on a door or house.
Apps can also aid residents feel part of the community. They can present information on a resident’s tablet or phone screen, including streetscapes of favourite places that can be watched as the person exercises, or images uploaded by staff or family on the resident’s home page, that represents a person’s timeline, supporting reminiscence and emotional calm.
Technology can also aid manager’s critical decision making processes. Residents want managers to know that an infection resolves in 7 days with x antibiotic and interventions but 2 weeks with other interventions. They want management to analyse all the falls in the bathrooms vs the corridor this month, and know at what time of the day they occurred to establish if staff ratios are appropriate at those times. They want staff to know how many pillows/blankets they prefer, their overnight continence aid, the book or magazine to keep with them in the lounge or the movie or sport they want to watch.
Not all software companies are the same and not all technology achieves what is really needed.
As healthcare environments and services are ever changing, software systems need to provide full content configuration, forms and reports builders, that reflect instantly in the linked Apps that are used by staff and residents. Apps need to be auto-modified through changes made in the software so every organisation can become their own, at no extra cost, development company. Choosing the right technology not only helps you save money – but can also aid you to future proof your organisation.
Author: Dr Caroline Lee, Group Chief Executive Officer
Company: Leecare Solutions UK Limited, Leecare Solutions Pty Ltd, Leecare Health Pte Ltd
UK GM: Temby Nyemba RGN, BSc, MA
Telephone: UK: +44 7456 050032 Head office: +61 3 9339 6888