Working in care is a tough job. On the one hand you have shrinking budgets, and on the other hand you have rising costs and recruitment challenges. As a result, it’s not surprising that efficiency is the buzzword on everyone’s lips right now.
Efficiency isn’t just about working harder to do more with less, it’s about finding the right solutions to streamline how you work. It’s also about maintaining, or even improving, quality of care through more accurate and efficient processes.
A care management solution needs to maximise the utilisation of care workers’ time, whilst reducing the risk of missed appointments and medication delivery. This needs to be done in a way which is GDRP-compliant and intuitive to use. Working pressures in the care industry are high enough without a care management system adding to the load. Solutions must combine clarity with control, helping your team deliver care more efficiently than ever before.
Out with the old, in with the new
We live in the age of email, internet and mobile phones. These are connected, digital times. Yet an amazing amount of home care agencies still rely on Excel spreadsheets, or even paper, to manage care delivery.
Elsewhere in life, we expect easy access to the latest information. Often via a smartphone, or web browser. Relying on printed paper rotas, or accounting books, runs the risk of damage and loss. These old systems may also require manual copy-pasting, or copying by eye, of records, with all the risks of human error this entails.
GDPR has forced many agencies to rethink their systems for care management. Excel or paper-based processes simply do not afford the level of tracking and security required now by law. Rather than waiting for a breach to occur, the steps should be taken proactively to improve control.
Updating your care management process to improve efficiency, security and ease of use can be a daunting step. This is why it is so important to select the best solution for your needs in both the short and long term. Your choice also needs to be intuitive for all users, minimising training and support requirements and enabling you to benefit from the change as quickly as possible.
The dynamic care roster
Social care is fundamentally all about connecting carers with those who need the care, the service users. If you store all the information about service users, their care requirements and preferences online – alongside information about carers – it becomes far easier to match carers to care needs.
Care needs and carer availability are changeable things. Using interconnected, electronic systems to manage these variables, allows alerts to be generated before a problem (e.g. missed appointment) arises. For example, if a carer gets delayed by traffic, a closer carer can be found, or appointments can be rescheduled if needed.
The rota scheduling system, or rostering system, becomes your information hub. Information flows out to tell carers of any changes, and in, to keep roster administrators informed and able to maximise the use of available resources – assigning carers, and even changes to care, in the most efficient way.
Keeping everyone in the know
The only constant in life is change. Keep your carers informed of any changes to their schedule, or care requirements, in real time. Connecting carers to their appointments via an online rota, or through an app, enables this type of seamless real time communication.
It’s not just appointment details which are subject to change. Travel information and updates can be provided to care workers via rota integration with Google Maps. Your carers can then adapt their journey to the latest traffic conditions to minimise travel time and cost.
Information flows two ways in modern, connected care scheduling systems. Gain real time visibility of carer location and appointment status; get alerts if appointments aren’t sat.
Knowledge really is power. Staying informed of carer location and appointment status helps avoid missed appointments. These can be quickly rescheduling if carers get delayed or needs change. Missed medication can even be addressed, via feedback on delivery. React to unfavourable outcomes from calls dynamically, reducing the need to follow-up appointments and improving the quality of care.
Centralise, consolidate and automate
A web-based care management system, such as CarePlanner, works off a centralised data structure (replicated and backed up for safety, of course). With a centralised data structure, there’s no need to copy-paste from one system to another – removing the risk of human error. This structure also enables you to automatically generate invoices from appointment data, flowing in accurate travel mileage and time calculations from Google Maps.
Creating carer rotas from one centralised roster, empowers each carer to confirm call attendance themselves; backed up by GPS tracking, NFC login or other solutions. There’s really no need to ask them to complete a timesheet anymore. All their work is logged automatically and can be merged with holiday and training records, stored in the same system. The result is a very accurate log of hours for payday calculations.
Report, refine and repeat
Centralised data not only provides a single source of truth for automating invoicing and payroll calculations, but also provides a data source which can be mined and analysed. Patterns associated with successes, or failures can be identified and used to steer future work for the better.
The more data points, the better the insights that can be derived from the data. With the advent of unstructured data analytics and AI, interconnected care management systems will provide rich pools of data to draw insight from in the future.
Taking heed of all of these points will produce a more joined-up solution, better fitting with today’s increasingly connected world of care.