How technology supports care teams as well as residents

The rise in use of technology in social care is ever-growing. The benefits to the quality of documentation and compliance standards were clear from the outset, however there are other lesser discussed benefits that technology can bring to your organisation.

The social care sector in the UK is amid a staffing crisis. It is projected that we will need an extra 627,000 staff in social care if we are to meet the demand for quality care for our ageing population.

A recent survey by Newcross Healthcare and YouGov found that over a quarter (27%) of care workers plan to quit their jobs in the next year. The study also reveals that 75% of care sector workers cite understaffing as a reason for their dissatisfaction in the workplace, and that 64% of employees believe staff shortages has impacted their wellbeing and contributed to a mental health crisis.

So not only are we facing a dwindling bank of care professionals, but we are also facing an increased demand in the need for care, only exacerbating the workforce shortfall. This is becoming increasingly obvious in England now where patients are waiting up to 40 hours to be seen in A&E due to long ambulance waits and lack of hospital beds. In fact, experts believe these longer wait times are contributing to additional deaths, which currently are sitting at 1,000 extra deaths per week than forecasted. These waits are due to the hospitals struggling to discharge patients to more suitable care settings, such as residential or nursing care, or indeed back to their home with appropriate domiciliary support.

Visibility and accountability

Before digital care management systems, care facilities were awash with paperwork and filing systems. The care sector has always been a very data-rich environment, however that data has limited value when it is locked away in filing cabinets or stuck in binders. A key benefit of technology is the ability to unlock this data in a meaningful way. Data accessibility is key to a well-informed care plan for all residents, and the ability to quickly report on key quality metrics across a home or estate of care homes.

But what does this mean to care teams? Firstly, far less time is needed on recording data. The ability to record care notes, observations and assessments at the point-of-care means carers and nurses spend far less time at the end of a shift sitting down and manually recalling their daily activities for the next person on shift. In many cases, the need for this manual handling of data is eradicated entirely. This gives care teams more time to spend with residents, engaging in meaningful interactions.

In addition, having a single digital source of truth also gives carers the comfort in knowing everything that had completed in their day is accurately recorded to ensure they get peace of mind that if anything were to be questioned by family or regulators, they can easily evidence the actions taken and the rationale behind these decisions.

Time saving

As briefly touched on in the previous paragraph, digital care systems save individuals and businesses a huge amount of time. This can be down to the quickness of data capture at the point of care, however smart automation and intelligent workflows are also empowering care teams by supporting workflows in the background.

An example of this can be seen with PainChek. Before PainChek, the most used pain assessments were paper-based, and often required a period of observation before completing the assessment – commonly advised to be 5 minutes. However, with PainChek, the facial analysis and AI empowers carers in presenting efficiency gains through the AI itself. Observing and recording non-verbal facial indicators of pain was often technically challenging, subjective and time consuming. However, with the introduction of PainChek, the face is automatically assessed in 3 seconds, and the complete pain assessment takes around 2 minutes in total to complete. This time saving is even more profound when combined with one of PainChek’s integrations with market leading Care Management Systems (CMS).

Upskilling care teams

Technology in care has the ability to empower carers in completing tasks which may have been otherwise reserved for more senior members of staff. PainChek is again a good example of this. As mentioned, paper-based pain assessments are timely and hugely subjective, meaning there is often variations in pain scores depending on who is completing the assessment. With PainChek’s objective approach to pain assessment, the level of subjectivity is vastly reduced. It’s enforced workflow also means anyone involved in care can perform fast, accurate and reliable pain scores, enabling more informed decision making around the treatment of pain. It also allows more people to be involved in the process, with robust analytics and remote monitoring, the availability of pain assessment data is greatly enhanced and allows care homes to share necessary data with family, GPs, and other allied healthcare professionals.

The PainChek system acts as three key pillars for care homes:

    • The App
      The PainChek assessment App is fast, easy to use and reliable for care teams to use, saving time and improving efficiencies.
    • The Data Portal
      PainChek’s analytics portal enables effective remote monitoring and reporting on key quality measures for individual residents, care homes, or whole care home estates.
    • Training & Education
      It is important for PainChek to not only support its users in using the product effectively, but also look at Pain and Dementia as a subject matter, providing an enhanced understanding for care teams and even offers CPD hours to UK clients.

To summarise, technology can transform the way that care is delivered. But it can also transform the way care teams interact with their residents and provide more time to meaningfully interact. Technology is the key to changing the way care professionals approach their work and enabled more collaborative environment to work in.

As the care sector looks to the future, facing severe staffing issues, it is now time to view technology through a different lens to understand how it can enhance your offering to employees, as well as meeting the requirements of your residents.

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