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The Safety of a Quality Care Home

The safety of a quality care home at Peverel Court Care

 

Are care homes currently safe? That is the question we are frequently asked. Until there’s a definitive answer to their question, families may consider staying away from care homes – but should they?

The question of whether or not a person is safer in a care home, their own home, or a hospital ward, is not a straightforward answer. Much is dependent on the measures put in place by any given care provider in order to mitigate the risks for their residents and staff.

With COVID-19 continuing to dominate the news headlines around the globe, it’s little wonder that people have concerns about whether their loved ones are, or would be, safe in a residential or nursing care home.

 

Safety in our care homes

We are now COVID free in all of our homes – and that goes for both staff and residents. We have had one Emergency Support Framework (ESF) call at Merryfield Nursing Home in Witney, near Oxford, that highlights the safety of the home.

We have recently detailed how we’re utilising technology to ensure outstanding infection control in our care homes, along with how we’re rolling out the use of digital care plans and the ways in which we’ve supported our employees through COVID-19.

One of the key uses of technology which we have introduced to all three of our care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire is a set of VitalSign Series Temperature-Check Tablets in the entrances to all our homes as part of our infection control measures.

In anticipation of requiring PPE at the very outset of a possible national outbreak, we embarked on a significant procurement programme very early on, ensuring adequate supplies of all required PPE throughout. At no point did any of the Peverel Court Care homes run out of PPE, nor were we required at any point to ration our supplies. Spending a significant sum on commercially available stock ensured we were adequately provided for.

Peverel Court Care have subsequently embarked on a further procurement programme to make sure we are adequately stocked on an ongoing basis for any future national outbreak and any further changes to Public Health England guidance around the use of PPE.

The safety of our residents and employees is fundamental to Peverel Court Care and underlines our core values of Resident Focus, Integrity, Service Quality, Passion and Care for Our Communities.

 

Are care homes less safe than home care?

Again, there is no single answer to this question, as processes to minimise the spread of the virus will vary greatly from one provider to another. However, where carers are travelling between care recipients – and particularly where they need to regularly use public transport – the risk of transmitting infection will always be there.

“Live-in care, where the carer stays at the individuals home for weeks at a time, has been described as the “safe option”. However, this approach can also have its downsides. In a recent case study we discovered that:

Before coronavirus took hold, the family of an elderly man with mild dementia had opted for live-in care, with a home care agency also visiting regularly to cover any breaks the live-in carer was entitled to.

As it turned out, the live-in carer self-isolated with the client’s father for 8 weeks straight.

During that time, possibly due to boredom and frustration that he couldn’t go out, the father’s dementia became more severe. His behaviour became more aggressive and he started to wander from the house at night to the point where all the doors and windows had to be locked.

Whenever there was an issue, and there were many, the family member who lived nearest – our client’s brother – would get a call from the carer to come and help. This was happening on a more frequent basis and at any time of day or night.

Clearly under normal circumstances, the family would have chosen a care home as the safe option. But despite this, the fear of COVID meant the family decided to carry on with an increasingly unsafe and inadequate situation at home.

 

Returning our care homes to a new normal

As we continue to implement new technological solutions to provide infection control and reduce the risk for our residents and staff, we’ve been able to reintroduce controlled visits by family. This week we received this lovely note from the daughter of one of our residents at Bartlett’s Residential Care Home, near Aylesbury, Bucks:

Hi Mibell and the whole team,

 

I just wanted to say that after 5 long months my visit with Dad yesterday was SO lovely. He was relaxed, happy and chatty. To him I am quite sure it only felt like yesterday I had visited (quite possibly with thanks to his Dementia).

 

Everything about my visit was well organised and with a relaxed feeling as to put us at ease. Please convey my thanks to the whole team.

 

I am very much looking forward to seeing him again. 

 

SW xx

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

Bartletts, Best Care Practices, Care & Technology, Care Management, Future of Care, Leadership & Management, Merryfield, Personalisation, Stone House, Tech, Workforce Intelligence

Digital Care Plan roll out

Digital Care plan roll out at Peverel Court Care - award-winning care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire

Following a successful implementation at Bartlett’s Residential Care Home near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, we will be rolling out the use of digital care plans to our other homes.

 

As revealed in our Transitioning to Digital Care Plans article from October 2019, Peverel Court Care has been running a digital care plan pilot programme at Bartlett’s since the start of this year.

Our previous post detailed many of the key benefits of moving to the use of digital care plans as opposed to the paper records that have been utilised as standard in the past. However, there have also been a number of additional benefits revealed through the pilot programme.

The transition has proved to be hugely successful, both for staff and residents, and we have therefore made the decision to extend the use of the Nourish digital care plan solution to both Stone House Nursing Care Home in Aylesbury (launching September 2020) and Merryfield Nursing Care Home in Witney, near Oxford (starting October 2020).

 

Digital care plan solution

We have chosen to use Nourish as the platform for our digital care planning. Their website describes the solution as:

“Nourish enables carers to plan, record, report and co-ordinate care, all focused on the person. At a time of growing demand for care, Nourish is using technology and design to empower carers to do what they do best: help people they care for enjoy the best quality of life possible.

We give care providers the digital tools to leave the paper trail behind. Our easy to use electronic care management platform enables care teams to plan, record, report and coordinate care on the go.

It’s not about recording less information, it’s about empowering your care teams to record more accurate notes, in less time. And with our simple search and report functions, you can share critical information about the people you care for with the entire care circle.”

Our Bartlett’s pilot programme has shown sufficient evidence of the truth in these claims for us to move to roll out the solution across our other care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

 

Immediate impact

Since embedding the trial at Bartlett’s, we’ve seen the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning that the use of technology within the care setting has never been so critical.

Electronic care planning allows for faster reporting of symptom presentation, and for the whole care team to be made aware in a timely fashion. This has translated immediately into how care teams organise their rotas to sequence their contact with residents to minimise the likelihood of spread.

A good digital platform supports the coordination of care teams so that even in a pandemic, care is still centred around the person. GPs, district nurses and hospitals can all engage remotely with residents based on observations made available to them remotely – enabling coordination to happen between social care and health.

Electronic care planning is also reducing the reporting burden on Care Managers who are being asked to report Covid-19 symptoms, personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks, bed availability and staffing levels to several entities. Using data collection repositories enables Care Managers to report once, and for entities that are coordinating responses to consolidate this information in different ways to suit their purposes.

For our Leadership team, digital care planning allows us to review care plans remotely, providing reassured confidence; we know everything that is happening with residents and care teams. This includes which activities took place, who’s not staying as hydrated as they should or who skipped lunch, along with which carers are off. We can also learn very quickly what innovative ideas are emerging from the front line, which we can then roll out across the group; accelerating innovation in response to the challenges.

 

Resident Focus

One of the key drivers for our transition to the use of digital care plans has been our Core Value of always taking an approach based on Resident Focus. That is to say, our: “commitment to putting our residents first. We develop relationships that make a positive difference in our residents’ lives.”

In support of this, one of the pieces of feedback we received from Tudor Nanu, Deputy Manager at Bartlett’s, was:

The new Nourish system is providing us with a host of options for personalised interactions that can be used in a person-centred way to achieve an evidence-based practice. 

As soon as we started migrating care plans onto the digital platform we realised the benefit of staff being able to access information instantly. The process of auditing care notes and rolling out reports has become more time efficient using the Nourish platform.

The team quickly saw the benefits of recording care notes as they go along, as now all the documentation is at their fingertips. Staff can access risk assessments and care plans instantly, releasing valuable time for staff to spend with residents.

We are able to create more unique care plans now, which concentrate on the individual needs of our residents and can facilitate better quality in the care services we provide. In addition, the system allows us to interlink care plans and risk assessments, which is very helpful when reviewing care plans or conducting audits.

To sum up the feedback obtained from staff, they would not return to paper care plan systems.

 

Digital care plans – staff opinion

The Bartlett’s team quickly came to embrace the new technology, and Tudor continued:

Staff were very eager to learn the new system. Its use is self-explanatory and in-house Nourish champions provided one-to-one training to staff who experienced difficulties in utilising the app effectively.

Due to the fact that Nourish allows us to dictate care notes directly into the device, we are able to record more complex information about our residents. Recorded information has become easier to hand over, and the intra-mail system allows us to communicate directly with the team of any changes and updates.

As we now have the opportunity to record care notes in real-time, we can spend more quality time with our residents and can input more accurate notes on care plans as soon as we finish delivering care.

With regard to the feedback received from Bartlett’s residents and their families, Tudor added:

Residents and families welcomed the idea of having an electronic system in place that centralises the information recorded under one umbrella. It became easier to follow an evidence-based practice, as Nourish allows us to access the history of interactions recorded for our residents and we are able to review notes of our actions and the care we have provided to our clients in a more efficient way.

 

About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

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