Albemarle Residential Home in Leamington Spa is a dementia care provider with 24 residents. Every care home in the UK must maintain full care plans for every resident, recording all aspects of their care and wellbeing. Almost all care homes rely on a paper-based system for this documentation.
Care plans are over 50 pages long and must be reviewed monthly. As Lee Foster, Albemarle’s Care Home Manager points out, it can take an entire day for a manager to review just one care plan. And it takes each carer 30 minutes a day – often at the end of a long, demanding shift – to update every patient’s notes with details and dosages. With the best will in the world, there’s always the chance that small inaccuracies will creep in if you’re really tired. Paperwork piles up. Even the files themselves were starting to create trip hazards!
There had to be a way to automate this paper-heavy process so staff could spend more time caring and less on recording care.
Lee was aware that there were IT systems available that could lighten the load but had no clear idea of where, or how, to start. He came to Magnetar through a personal recommendation.
The project began with a 3-hour ‘discovery’ phone call so that the Magnetar team fully understood the internal workings and challenges of care provision. Armed with that knowledge, they then designed and implemented a bespoke IT solution to automate Albemarle.
During their shift, each carer would carry a hand-held device – a Nokia smartphone – so that they could instantly record and monitor patient care. Magnetar uploaded the most recommended, robust care app on the market, then customised it for Albemarle’s exclusive use. Designed for use on the care frontline, the app has to be easy to use, almost intuitive. From briefing to the solution, design and roll out took 8 weeks. All staff members are now online, and paper is almost entirely a thing of the past.
The benefits of Albemarle’s bespoke system are far-reaching. The photo function means that, should a resident trip and fall, or wake up with an unexplained injury, carers can photograph for the record, for future audit processes and also for the GP to remote assess. This visual record gives peace of mind for both the care home staff, concerned family members and regulatory bodies.
Carers can also record far more detail than a tick box on a paper chart. The app collates the information down to the last millilitre of fluid or milligram of medication. So, Lee and his team can spot patterns or changes in a patient’s records that might give cause for concern, such as reduced food or fluid intake, sleep pattern or changes in behaviour. They can then assess and respond before a more serious health issue arises. Should the resident need to go to hospital, the complete records can be printed out or emailed across.
Magnetar were on site on ‘go live’ day to ensure all went without a hitch. They trained key members of staff, who now cascade that training out to all new joiners. Magnetar supplies a complete How To ‘bible’ of documentation – comprehensive user guides and videos – with every project. These support new and existing users. The team continues to adapt the app as per feedback and can revise and issue updates to keep the Albemarle system as efficient as possible.
And it’s secure. It can’t afford not to be. Residents and their relatives are trusting personal care and confidential information to the home and the staff. For Lee, this was top priority. “You hear so many stories of hackers and data breaches – I really took Magnetar to task on that! I now have complete confidence that personal information cannot be accessed by unauthorised users. And that the data storage and retrieval is secure.
“After all, we’re entrusted with looking after loved and vulnerable people.”
Magnetar’s intelligent integration of the best, cloud-based tools on the market with an easy- to-use handheld device resulted in the best of both worlds; tried and tested products integrated with bespoke software. 99% of care plans are now live online.
In the first week, one carer came up to Lee and said she didn’t know what to do! “And what she meant was, I’ve updated all my care plans and I’ve still got 40 minutes left until my shift ends! The log-as-you-go solution means that we’re gaining at least an extra 6 hours every day that can be spent caring for residents. That’s the acid test.”
Date: February 9, 2021