‘Going the Extra Mile’ – Is it a failure of The Care Plan?
As part of Fastroi’s ongoing strategy to enter the UK market, we read many industry reports and papers. The recent report by Healthwatch UK into people’s experiences of Home Care Services in the UK has given us an insight into the opinions of both the caregivers and those who receive care. We have been very interested to understand where the service needs improvement and how Fastroi can benchmark their offering against these findings.
The Care Plan is There for a Reason
The first section of the report discusses Care Planning and how through good communication and focus on the care recipient, a good quality care plan can be created. However, what happens when the care plan is not being followed? The report goes into two scenarios where first the care being given is not meeting the requirements of the plan, and secondly, where the care givers are ‘going the extra mile’ to provide additional services that may not be in the plan. While every situation is different, the care plan should be seen as the way for the care recipient to know what to expect from their care and for the caregiver to be clear about the clients’ wants and needs. Avoiding miscommunications or misunderstandings will clearly be beneficial in providing a consistent level of care.
Process Deviations Lead to a Lower Level of Quality
If the care plan is not being followed, either through not enough being done during the visits or too much being done, then, any reporting on visits or feedback may not give an accurate picture of the care being provided. If a regular caregiver is doing much more than is in the care plan, then if someone new needs to attend them, simply by following the care plan and through no fault of their own, they will not be giving the same level of care as the regular carer. The client’s expectations will not be met and the level of satisfaction will drop. Likewise if a caregiver is not carrying out the care plan and needs to be told what they need to be doing by the client, the care plan is no longer an effective tool, since the care worker is not following the plan.
Digital Services are Easier to Audit
Digital transformation of the home care process can have a huge impact on the way that Care Plans are used. Instead of allowing the care worker to cherry-pick the care plan for whatever reason, we need to be able to ensure that the care plan is followed and a visit plan gives the specific requirements for each visit to ensure that the care plan is being fulfilled (Different visits may have different requirements throughout the day). With a digital system that provides the care worker with the exact requirements for each visit, as well as a reporting facility, it can give the care worker the opportunity to add any extra information or tasks that may have been performed. Reporting can be done in real time with the required activities being completed using check boxes. By reporting completed tasks on a regular basis, any deviation in the time taken to perform the regular tasks on the Care Plan can also be a signal that the Care Plan should be reviewed. New tasks may need doing or, due to improvements in the client’s condition, some tasks may not need doing any longer. Time stamps on each task can therefore be a very good indication as to the overall condition of the client. By reporting all of the activities in a digital system, they can be seen by the whole care team and the care plan can be adjusted to suit the changing needs of the client. Auditing the electronic visit records against the Care Plan is also a way to ensure the consistency of the service. Technology should not be the main focus of the process, but simply the tool that enables us to better plan, control and manage the business of caring for people.
Better Controlled Processes Mean Better Care
Performing extra tasks in the care environment is not to be discouraged as it is a clear indicator of staff commitment and professionalism. In order to make it a more efficient use of time however, it should be recorded by the carer so that we can ensure that the clients receive a level of care that remains consistently high, regardless of who is in attendance. Having the ability to record the little things that matter in an easy and time efficient manner while the visit is ongoing, or immediately afterwards using a mobile device, will clearly lead to a better service. It will also bring about improvements in care for those occasions when the level of care does not meet the requirements of the care plan.
Fastroi are the Finnish market leaders in providing digital transformation technology to the home care, care home and community care industries. Their solution allows efficient management of staff, combined with easy reporting on visits using mobile devices. In addition to this, the technology allows greater communication between staff, relatives and the clients. More information can be found at www.fastroi.fi/en