If you are still using timesheets for communicating shift requirements to, and confirmation from, your staff, you are missing out on one of the most productive developments of the 21st century – electronic monitoring.
At its simplest level, the carer would use the client’s house phone to dial a Freephone (0800 number) to confirm their arrival and departure. The system recognises the caller ID on the phone, thereby identifying your customer ID, asks for the carer’s PIN ID, and then whether they are arriving (key 1) or leaving (key 3). In some systems they can also specify exceptions, like client requested shorter visit, client not well, etc. The cost is low (a few pence per visit) and the technology common.
The problem with this system, though, is when the client has no phone; so some organisations specify special “black boxes” to relay codes through the carer’s phone. And what happens if the client is on the phone at the time of visit (thus delaying the log) – or refuses the carer’s use (as they can, and often do). These issues create a marked downward pressure on logging percentages – making it almost impossible to prove full delivery of service.
Advancements in mobile technology in this decade have transformed this type of monitoring within the care industry. We now have technology readily available from software suppliers like Ulysses, that provides a much more comprehensive solution that helps everybody – carer, client and coordinator – at a very realistic cost- and bringing huge benefits in terms of efficiency.
The mobile app (in this Case Connected Care) is downloadable from the app stores and is typically loaded onto the carer’s own phone (Android and Apple. The carer logs in with an ID and a password and this allows them to see their planned visits, with times, tasks, warnings, etc.
At the client’s house we place either a barcode (QR-code type) or an NFC tag in the client’s book. Barcodes can be printed by the carer on plain paper; NFC tags are little sticky labels with a metal strip embedded.
The mobile device should be equipped with a reader (you can download a barcode reader from the app stores) . The carer can then log in or out by scanning the code.
NFC tags are stronger than barcodes (they can’t be copied) but require a properly equipped phone with an in-built NFC reader (most Samsung and Sony Androids have this). For this reason, those organisations requiring the additional security of the NFC tag will often invest in dedicated company mobiles for their carer, but the lower cost of barcodes and their universal usability (just about every modern smartphone out there has the ability to use them), makes them more popular, especially as they can be combined with GPS Tracking to ensure that the carer is on site.
On that very subject, we mustn’t forget the ability to do lone worker protection – by the very fact that the app is linked to the phone and supports GPS, you get this full benefit also.
So all in all we have these very significant benefits:-
- Rotas on-line (changes are automatically communicated to the care worker)
- View care plan
- Complete task,
- Record outcomes and feedback
- Report problems and exceptions
- Send and Receive In App Messages
- E-mar functions
- Lone Worker Functions
All of this will feed to and from the Care Management System in real time, automatically, so you can be sure you are delivering the correct care to each client, quickly and easily. – and in the case of Connected Care, automatically confirming the timesheet electronically, saving manual confirmation costs.
When these systems are coupled with electronic Care Planning systems – like Everylife PASS – you then start to see further management cost savings – including supervision time on Medication management, integration with prescription systems like Lloyds Pharmacies, on-site care planning using electronic forms, and NHS-friendly case reporting systems. Mobile technology is set to grow and proper integration between systems can save an astonishing amount of management time. In recent studies, 80% of paperwork and overall coordinator / supervision time was saved by combining Ulysses Connected Care with Everylife Pass, whilst improving outcomes and overall quality.
www.rostering-systems.co.uk (connected care)