care planning

easylog updates care software app for temporary hotel hospitals

With the Covid-19 epidemic causing disruption and hardship to businesses across the UK, particularly in the hard-pressed care sector, we were pleased to be able to help one of our clients meet the challenge of extending their care services to six hotels being used as temporary overspill hospitals.

Salisbury-based care group Abicare called us after they were contracted to provide care staff for recuperating patients from hospitals across Hampshire and Dorset. The carers were needed to look after both Covid-positive and non-Covid patients who were being accommodated in empty local hotels operated by major chains.

“Because of the unique nature of the contract, Abicare needed us to make some tweaks to their HomeCare software app and import a lot of new data,” says easyLog development director James Clark.

“The changes we made were chiefly to enable care staff to make more notes to meet the differing care record needs of patients and, crucially, to track patient visits so appropriate hygiene procedures could be followed. We worked with Abicare over a weekend to create a new instance of the software and get it up and running as fast as possible. We are proud to say it is already in use in the new hotel ‘wards’.”

Find out more

For more information about our care systems, visit our website. Alternatively, contact one of our team for a chat.

 

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care recording, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Latest news, Time and attendance, 2 comments

Make your care home more efficient without compromising on care

carer using bodymap function on a tablet

With rising costs and an ever increasing administrative burden, it’s no wonder that the number of care homes going into administration has been rocketing.

Over the past three years, care home insolvencies have jumped by more than a third, according to Moore Stephens, with the number rising by nearly a fifth (18 per cent) in the year to September 2015. And the accountants suggest that the situation is likely to get worse as a result of financial pressures such as the introduction of the Living Wage, the cost of meeting increasing regulations and local authority spending cuts – the Local Government Association estimates that there will be a £2.9 billion annual funding gap in social care by the end of the decade.

Research by BBC Radio Four supports this view, indicating that a quarter of British care homes will go out of business within three years because they are not making enough profit.

Of course there is no quick and easy way to reduce running costs while maintaining high standards of care – but there are things you can do to make your working practices more efficient.

Choose the right technology for your care home

If you haven’t already invested in an electronic record system, do it now. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune and will soon pay its way in terms of time savings and greater accuracy and detail. Many suppliers, including easyLog, offer low cost monthly payments for software and services so there is no big capital outlay to strain already tight budgets.

A carefully-chosen solution tailored to your care home’s needs can transform the way you manage your business and how carers go about their daily tasks. Using tablet PCs to work on the move, for instance, helps carers spend more time caring and less time on admin by allowing them to record and view care records and shift notes as they go.

Be ready for a CQC inspection

This not only makes for a more efficient way of working but also ensures you always have a full audit trail and detailed care record reporting to hand, enabling you to answer quickly any information requests in a CQC inspection.

At the same time you can build and sustain a reputation for the quality of care in your area through the proactive management of care issues that your easyLog software highlights.

Use your rota to control costs

Implementing suitable staff scheduling software designed for care homes will make setting your rota quicker and easier. More importantly, it will help you control your staffing budget – so there are no unexpected staff costs through unnecessary headcount or overtime payments, for example.

Specialist software such as our care-Log+ package will also give you the option to streamline other staff management functions, such as training and HR records, through a simple but detailed personnel module.

To find out more about finding the most effective care record management system for your business, take a look at the care home section of our website or contact one of our team.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care home management, Care record management, Care recording, CQC Inspections, Rota software, 0 comments

New care record software online training videos announced

Responding to client requests, easyLog will be introducing a comprehensive range of on-line training videos on its care record management software during this Summer. These videos are designed to help care staff quickly get to grips with the main functionality of the product such as creating care plans and evaluating them, completing risk and health assessments and handling other care-related information about a service user like activities calendars, body maps and recording drug administration.

The idea behind the videos is to provide a comprehensive training resource that is independent of the senior system administrator staff that have been responsible for configuring and implementing the software initially. In this way care staff can review and learn functionality quickly without needing to interrupt or book time with the small number of managerial staff that possess the overall system knowledge and detail of its day-to-day functionality. As such this creates a win-win for the overall care team with both carers and their managers able to focus time on the specific training that they will need to operate the system from their own perspective.

The first on-line videos are set to appear later this month with a full set in place by the close of August.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Care record management, Care recording, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, 0 comments

Care Recording: Be practical and clear for your care staff

One of the key benefits our care sector clients describe about their implementation of our care record management software is the facility to define their own recording phraseology for their care staff. On a practical level this feature means that the carer can be presented with recording options that are meaningful to them. This may be because the software is replacing previous manual documentation that has been used for many years or simply that the implementation has allowed the senior staff to present simplified expressions of more medical terms.

And practicality is key to the success our clients have seen in implementing care-Log+ especially in conjunction with the use of tablet PCs and the simplicity of the Carer App. This approach allows a care provider to capture the volume of recording that CQC Inspections now require. And because of the simple adaptation of technology that volume is achieved by the care staff as part of their usual care or shift notes regime.

As I mentioned earlier, the definition of the words that carers select is key. So a fluids chart could be defined in terms of millilitres or by ‘drunk whole cup’, ‘drunk half cup’, etc. Likewise a nutrition record can be phrased to include the option selected at any meal and the amount of food then consumed, such as ‘fully eaten’, ‘half eaten’, etc.

These recordings could be arranged in a single ‘nutrition’ or ‘fluid chart’ document (or evaluation record as it’s called in the software) or split across several documents organised by shift time. So for example, a carer could record the breakfast, mid-morning snack/drink and lunchtime intake in a shift note designed to record all activities from 8am to 2pm. The reporting options in care-Log+ enable a manager to collate all nutrition and/or fluid entries for any service user from any number of care recording documents into a single report. This becomes a vital tool during a CQC audit but also shows the practicality that was highlighted at the outset of this Blog. The main care recording documents can be organised to suit the needs of the service users and the care staff and do not have to be designed to second guess what questions a CQC Inspector may ask; if the recording has been done then the care-Log+ software can present the care records in any way required for audit purposes.

If you would like to discuss any functionality or issues raised in this blog please call one of our team on 01892 834406 or e-mail us on info@easylog.co.uk

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Care record management, Care recording, CQC Inspections, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, 0 comments

Recording care with objectivity, legibility and speed!

It goes without saying that in a CQC audit the Inspector will look for written proof of the care that has been provided. After all that is what an audit is about; select a small number of residents as sample cases and analyse their records. If any anomalies come to light then drill down further and possibly widen the audit to include other resident records.

But that means the care provider has to ensure their care staff are recording their shift notes in the quantity and quality required to provide the depth of record sets that an Inspector requests. Which brings to mind a number of obstacles. Handwritten notes can be subjective and may contain what could be regarded as inappropriate phraseology. Text such as ‘enjoyed a good day’ may be deemed meaningless as a record of the mood or care provision of the resident.  Additionally, recent years have seen an influx of overseas staff into the care sector. A percentage of these will have English as their second language which could present problems with the meaning and accuracy of the words used in care records. Beyond these concerns legibility would always be an issue from the mix of handwriting styles that carers bring with them and also, how contemporaneous the notes are without authoritative electronic means of time stamping.

Our care-Log+ care record management software addresses these areas by a two pronged approach. First, carers are presented with shift note documents that have multiple prompts each with a selectable option menu for them to record what happened across care needs such as continence, drinks taken, quantity of food consumed, etc. Additional text can be entered as well if a greater description is required. Second, care-Log+ presents these shift note documents on tablet PCs. With touch screen ease of use combined with placement in accessible  locations around the home, all recordings are automatically time and date stamped together with the user ID and then wirelessly added to the central database automatically.

The end result is that the required volume of records is achieved with objectivity and speed yet with reliability and accuracy that is fully auditable. In short, the balance between giving care and recording care is firmly restored in favour of what carers are actually employed to do.

If you would like to discuss any functionality or issues raised in this blog please call one of our team on 01892 834406 or e-mail us on info@easylog.co.uk

 

 

Posted by administrator in Care home management, CQC Inspections, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, 0 comments

Care recording in volume for a CQC Inspection audit; exception reporting for practical care intervention

This series of blogs focuses on the particular aspects of our care-Log+ care record management software that assist care providers to prove the care they have delivered in structured record sets. Above all we want to describe how the functionality of the software helps you deliver an auditable trail for inspection by any regulatory body.

In our previous blog (blog on recording for a CQC Inspection) we wrote about the detail and volume of information that it appears a care home may be audited on in a CQC Inspection. Nutrition and fluid records seem to be a particular focus as inspectors try to ascertain that the care home is providing correct input of both – and evidencing this by their records.

We remarked how users of our care-Log+ care record management system were able to satisfy the volume of their record keeping needs, whilst not losing focus on the fact that their care staff are employed to care rather than be administration clerks, in two ways: First, through the facilities care-Log+ offers to define the care records that the management team want the care staff to record. So fluid intake could be defined in terms of millilitre bandings (‘less than 20ml’, ’20ml – 40 ml’, ‘more than 40 ml’ for example) or by description such as in the example of an evening drink with ‘few sips’, ‘half taken’, ‘all taken’, ‘declined’. Secondly, the care staff can quickly record these notes not at a PC (although of course the option exists to do this) but on a wirelessly connected tablet PC that is either carried by the carer or wall-mounted in convenient locations around the home such as in the dining room or lounge.

However, by giving carers an easy and accessible method of recording their shift notes, haven’t we just created another mountain of records to look through only in electronic form rather than paper-based? Well yes we have but there is an extra aspect of the recording functionality (that works with the defining of the prompts and dropdown options that the carer sees on the tablet) that makes care-Log+ a very pro-active care management tool that allows a focus on the exceptions.

That additional facility is the option to mark specific responses, if selected by the carer, as flagging alerts. So in the examples given earlier, the selection of ‘less than 20ml’ for fluid intake could be designated as an alarm and thus alert the management team that the resident has consumed an insufficient volume. A warning is immediately placed on their desktop and will also appear in the Shift Handover report. The software presents the alert in an alarm list. Clicking on a line will then take the senior or matron reviewing the alert flags to the shift note record and present options to enter additional comments, review associated care plans and/or health and risk assessments, add a care task that notifies the care staff on the tablet PC to be aware of a particular care need (such as ‘prompt to drink’ in this case) over a period of time (for example every day for the next week) and, if relevant, access the resident’s body map image.

In this way care-Log+ provides an exception-based environment in which records are gathered very easily and in the volume required through use of the tablet PCs, and then automatically filtered by the software between the few that require immediate review and the majority which are held for reporting as and when required in the future.

If you would like to discuss any functionality or issues raised in this blog please call one of our team on 01892 834406 or e-mail us on info@easylog.co.uk

Posted by administrator in Care home management, CQC Inspections, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, 0 comments

Care plans are not a standalone document

When a CQC Inspector is auditing your care records one of the main things they’ll be looking for is to see that the recordings made in one are reflected in any other related documentation. So, for example, notes made on a carer’s shift that record a resident has been not eating to their usual pattern over the last couple of days or so, should be matched by evidence of a recent review of the ‘Eating and Drinking’ care plan. In this way written observations are closely linked to a reassessment of the required care interventions to ensure that the desired care outcomes remain achievable.

This of course describes basic good care and nursing practice but with the volume of care recording undertaken can it be guaranteed that this systematic review happens on every occasion?

A care plan is the central document that defines a service user’s care. Its on-going relationship is therefore not only linked to shift notes but with health assessments, risk assessments but prior to that with pre-assessments and social care (or life story) background information.

It is therefore pleasing to hear from our care-Log customers how the definable flexibility in the software is being used to ensure that each home’s unique and diverse documentation sets are being updated and reviewed as a complete entity. As Lesley Plumb from The Chestnuts care home in Meopham near Gravesend, Kent says,  At a CQC inspection, we were able to demonstrate how all the care we provided was both personalised and “in the round” – in other words, any problems raised were answered and explanations given, leaving no loose ends in relation to a resident’s care.

And of course that’s a very reassuring position to be in before any CQC Inspection.

For more information about the functionality in care-Log and how it can be harnessed to benefit your care home or supported living care facility please contact us.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, 0 comments

Care plans that fit your service users and your staff

Anyone working in the care sector knows how vitally important a comprehensive and clear care plan is to the ongoing quality of care and well-being of the service user. A care plan is a document that must be understandable to the service user and their relatives as well as to the care team responsible for the delivery of its content. What’s more, under scrutiny from CQC, it is an auditable document on which an inspector will base his or her assessment of the quality of care provided and outcomes achieved.

Key to creating effective care plans is ensuring that they give relevant clinical detail together with the practical lifestyle and personal information required by the care staff – the definition of a good person centred care plan. So, when care providers consider computerising their care plans, do they seriously consider how service users’ care plans may change over time – or indeed changes in the type of care service that their organisation may in future provide?

Watch our video to see different care plan styles

Flexibility is crucial to achieve this. Our care-Log+ care home management software has always been designed around this principle but in the area of care plans – and in the hands of our users – it continues to deliver multiple styles of care plan across ever evolving types of care delivery. Take a look at the video from this link to see some of the variety of care plan styles that our care home clients use.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, 0 comments

Work even more efficiently with new Home Care Studio

Domiciliary care and supported living providers should take note that we have given our specialist home care software a makeover so it’s now even more effective if you have smaller numbers of service users. We have also given it a new name – Home Care Studio

The areas we have upgraded are:

  • Rotas – we have made it easier to find staff to fulfil contracts by providing multiple rota views to meet a range of circumstances
  • Risk assessment screens – these now feature improved scorecards so you can add more details
  • Care screens – we have included social care and person-centred care planning to give a better all round picture of the service user as an individual
  • Reporting – this now offers the option of printing out care documents in part or full for greater flexibility
  • Ease of use – we have improved functionality for handheld devices, such as smartphones and tablets, so it’s easier to make initial assessments, log service user information, clock in and out and check rota information on the move

If you want to know more about how Home Care Studio can help you save time and provide higher standards of care, visit our domiciliary care and supported living web pages or contact us.

Posted by administrator in Domiciliary care and supported living, Rota software, Scheduling software, 0 comments

care-Log+, the Care Act – and your business

We have had several approaches from our care provider clients regarding the impact of the Care Act 2014 and what effect it will have on the functionality of our care-Log+ software application. In short the question our clients are asking is: Will care-Log+ cope with any new changes?

This has obviously led us to review the Care Act so that we can understand what it means for our care-Log+ clients. Overall, the Care Act represents a very large and significant change. It consolidates more than a dozen pieces of social care legislation into a single law and represents the most significant reform of adult social care in over 60 years. Most of the provisions in the Act will come into effect in April 2015, with some of the funding reform changes taking effect in April 2016.

Local authority focus

Most of the changes are targeted at the local authority as the commissioner of social care – although this, in turn, may have an impact on your business. For example, the introduction of “market shaping” – whereby the local authority has a duty to help shape the local care and support market so that it offers a range of choices and sustainability for the future – may be significant to your operation. So having a positive and pro-active relationship with your local authority will ensure that you receive advance warning of the type of care facilities that the commissioners wish to see in your area.

Clearly other elements of the Care Act may also be relevant to your business – such as the “prevention and well-being provisions” – and lead to a further push towards domiciliary-based care. However, the Act emphasises throughout that it views the provision of care as person-centred and outcomes focused and therefore mirrors the key design principles and functionality already contained in care-Log+.

care-Log+ functionality and the Act

Some of the changes to be introduced by the Care Act are covered by functionality already found in care-Log+. A new “safeguarding assessment” section was brought into the last release of 2014. Although this functionality already existed, you can now view this type of assessment in a separate function if required. Similarly, although the “duty of candour” is a new requirement, it is our belief that any of our clients who are routinely collecting care data through their daily notes evaluations will be able to respond to any incident from a position of having full evidence of their care provision.

In summary, easyLog believes that the functionality currently provided in its care-Log+ system provides a robust and fully adequate response to the Care Act.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care home management, 0 comments

Service user activities calendar added to care-Log+

A new service user activities calendar function has been added to our care-Log+ care record management application. This development means that a calendar style report can be viewed and/or printed that will provide details per resident of any planned activities in any week together with associated medical or care notes if required. The new facilities will be of particular interest to our clients that provide care in the learning difficulties sector where service users are frequently involved in activities in the community. The activities calendar means that care staff will always be aware of each day’s events and see them in conjunction with any relevant medical notes as they supervise each day’s activities.

The clever design of the new feature simply extends the existing care tasks functionality within the software.

A care task is a ‘diary action’ for any resident that allows the care manager to enter future events, such as a hospital appointment, and also medical information that can be presented each day, for example a note to provide more assistance to a resident with their eating for a period, so that carers are aware of any particular specific or on-going need.

Likewise when used as an activity record, a care task can be a one-off event (such as a trip to the cinema) or can be a repeated event (like a weekly visit to a day centre on a Thursday morning).

Care tasks are presented both within the software application and also on tablet PCs on which the care-Log software can be implemented.

The activities calendar can be displayed with  just activities or medical information or both and for an individual or range of residents to make this a very powerful and flexible addition to the care-Log+ software module.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, 0 comments

Seven steps to finding the right care record management system

As a company that supplies software solutions for the care home sector, we know how difficult selecting and implementing a computerised care record management system can be. So we have put together this seven-point plan to help care home owners and managers avoid the most common pitfalls.

1. Understand your goals

There are a lot of care record products out there – some relate to a specific need, while others offer a complete back-office solution. So decide at the start which areas of your business require greater controls and efficiencies and whether these are likely to be achieved through computerisation. You will then be able to present any potential supplier with a clear picture of what you want.

2. Involve staff in the decision

It’s always a good idea to get staff on board during the selection process. Some may feel apprehensive about the introduction of a computerised care record system, but involving the care team from the outset can help staff overcome their fears and understand the benefits. They will be able to see that the system will help them in their work and reduce the time they spend on paperwork so they can devote more time to caring.

3. Remember that implementing a system takes time

Don’t assume that you and your staff will magically find the time to implement the new computerised record system alongside your existing day-to-day work commitments. Work out who will supervise the project and give them the time to do it. You’ll also need to calculate how much time will be needed to input data to get the new system operational and assign someone to this process.

4. Draw up a project plan

It may seem obvious but planning ahead can avoid many false starts and wrong turns. Implementing a computerised care record system involves care and back-office staff with differing degrees of IT familiarity. They operate in a 24/7 environment, often punctuated with unpredictable care episodes and service-user demands. Look at the diversity of staff and care documents involved and work out how the implementation can be fitted around the care home’s routine.

5. Review your current documentation

Most care homes want to retain their current documentation, which has typically gone through many changes over time – resulting in overlapping records, duplications and lack of clarity. Computerising these documents provides the ideal opportunity to review their content and relevance – and whether the systems you are considering will accommodate your old documentation and provide an improved alternative.

6. How easily can staff access the system?

Care is rarely provided in front of a computer screen, so consider how far staff will need to walk whenever they want to review and update resident records. Investing in several PCs, a network infrastructure and extra desk space may be beyond your organisation’s means, but there are cost-effective alternatives, such as wall-mounted touch screens and wireless tablet computers.

7. Start small and build momentum

We recommend starting the changeover with the shift or daily notes recording function. This may be broken down further by residents who have a high volume recording overhead or are based in a particular area of the care home. These documents are usually simple to implement and produce very quick results, so carers see how the system can help them in their daily work. With a first success quickly under its belt, the project can move forward positively.

If you would like more advice on implementing a computerised care record system, please contact one of our team.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, 0 comments