If you’ve been caring for an older relative or loved one at home, the move to a care home can mean a big change for families. Instead of being involved in everything about your loved one’s day and care needs, handing this over to others can bring mixed emotions. For some, it’s a relief to know that their family member is in the safe hands of care professionals. Other people may find it frustrating to rely on information passed on from the care home, especially when loved ones may not remember everything that has happened either.
Care Homes across the Country Court group have been benefitting from the introduction of Nourish – a digital care planning system. The new system of electronic care planning is improving the lives of both residents and staff and making personalised care plans easier to manage and more flexible. One of the benefits of the system is that all the information about the care of their loved one is quickly and easily available and can be shared with families.
The system is based around handheld devices that look very much like mobile phones and enable staff to record every interaction with a resident in real-time. The system gives Managers and Senior Carers an instant view of the care, support, activities and nutrition each resident has received throughout the day and night.
Resident’s care plans are uploaded to the system giving staff all the crucial information they need about each person at their fingertips. Badges highlight any risks associated with the person, for example, allergies, medical notes, mental health status or other vital information that staff need to see.
At Ruckland Court Care Home in Lincoln, the care team were excited to see that the system would not only record every interaction with a resident but that it used a traffic light system to indicate how well the resident responded.
“It will be useful for when we handover to the next shift to show that a resident had lunch but that they didn’t eat all of it for example,” said Care Assistant Donna McQuilter “It’s really hard to remember all the little details for each person for a whole day. With Nourish, we can do things like put notes in for when someone’s asked for a specific activity which will be good too”.
Using the devices is quite a change for care staff, but once the initial training is complete and after a few days of using the system, staff are all in favour of the new way of working. Using the Nourish system has helped staff feel more in touch with their residents, improving motivation and productivity and leading to an all-round happier home. Staff can see the benefit of timesaving and freeing up time from paperwork allowing them more time with residents. They also feel empowered as the system enables improved decision making and collaboration between staff teams.
At Lakeview Lodge Care Home in Milton Keynes, Home Manager Clare Hedge is using the system to proactively manage a falls prevention initiative. Using the Nourish system, Clare analysed where and when falls were most frequently occurring in the home.
“Using Nourish, I could see that there was a pattern to the falls. We’ve used this to proactively work towards reducing the number of falls in our home and identifying training needs for carers,” explained Clare. “I was able to share information from the Nourish system with carers to make them aware of what had happened whilst they were not on shift. This was particularly helpful for night staff as we’d been able to show that many falls were happening during the night.”
“We found that simply repositioning people more frequently during the night prevented many incidents. Previously, people had the same fall over again, just on a different day. Sharing information using Nourish has prevented this happening and helped us to reduce falls by 58% per month between November 2020 and February 2021.”
The system is a highly dynamic tool for care professionals both inside and outside the care home, enabling the sharing of multi-disciplinary information. Reports containing vital information for paramedics or hospital staff can be generated instantly should a resident be transferred to a hospital. During a covid-19 outbreak in a care home, the system was used to record Covid19 observations. Staff could see exactly when to take vital daily observations, such as temperature, and complete food and fluid charts throughout a 14-day isolation period.
“The district nurses we work with in Milton Keynes have been very impressed with the information that we can now share with them.” Explained Clare Hedge. “Tissue viability reviews, Waterlow risk assessments (for pressure sores) and other checks are all recorded on Nourish. The nurses can now check key information without having to examine individual people. This was a huge benefit during periods of lockdown due to Covid-19 when we needed to keep visitors to the home to a minimum. We can email GPs and multi-disciplinary teams with information directly from the Nourish system rather than waiting for a GP to write a letter. Already this is helping to speed up decision making.”