5 Top Tips to Providing Better Care

If you are, then it might be time to consider moving to a digital solution. Care Management Software to be precise. If you’re not sure what this means, then we have put together these 5 Top Tips for providing better care with Real-Time Care from Fastroi.

Step 1. Analyse your Current Situation

Running any care business is not easy. Margins are tight, the pressure to give the best care possible is high and above all, you are responsible for caring for people’s loved ones. However, it is worth taking some time out to look at the way your business is being run. Analyse the information that the CQC have provided you in their reports. It’s really valuable to have this kind of objective feedback! How have their ratings changed over different reports? Have you had good reports followed by not so good ones? Have you struggled to maintain the high standards you hope for? Is your business still being run using a pen and paper? If an incident happens, how do you modify the way you work in order to prevent it from ever occurring again? How do you communicate with your staff, customers, their relatives or other agencies?

Step 2. Identify the Process Issues

If you have identified the areas where your business is struggling to maintain a high level of care, it is time to look at the ways your care business works. Many times we are so busy with our work, that we don’t even realize that many of the activities we do on a regular basis are simply process related tasks. We do them because we have always done them. Whether this is preparing the weekly staff rosters, writing up reports or even holding a weekly or daily staff meeting that highlights any issues. All of these activities and others, take time away from the main activity of caring for people.

Step 3. Take Steps to Control those Processes

There are many ways that an organisation can improve their processes, but one of the things that we have found is that people are often being expected to bear the burden of poor processes. By this we mean that instead of automating basic tasks such as rostering, invoicing or reporting, the staff have to carry this additional burden on top of their regular duties. This are two consequences to this. First, the staff feel that most of their time is spent on paperwork or other admin tasks and secondly, the staff spend less time away from the things they should be doing – namely caring for others. The result of this is reduced productivity and a higher risk of mistakes.

Step 4. Automate

As we saw in the previous step, poor process control leads us to reduced productivity and a higher risk of mistakes. Investing in automation can be one of the biggest game changers to improving the performance of a care service. Now we don’t mean having robots taking the place of care staff. What we mean by automation, is the idea that many of the tasks that are still being done by staff using pen and paper can be done much more efficiently using a digital based solution. We still want to see people in the care roles, looking after others, but we don’t want to see them stretched to breaking point because of tasks that can easily be carried out. Imagine if a report on a domiciliary care visit could be completed and saved before the carer has started the engine on their car? Any issues could be immediately flagged up and dealt with instead of waiting until later in the day for the report to be submitted. Imagine being able to automatically plan your staff rosters and have the flexibility to adjust is a staff member calls in sick. These are just some of the basic things the are possible. As you dig deeper into the possibilities, it becomes clear that care management software can address many of the issues that bring down many CQC ratings. Connected care plans, lone worker protection, medication control, alerts to name but a few. In fact, by automating many of the tasks, you could start to regain control of your processes and improve the overall quality of care!

Step 5. Arrange a Demo!

Fastroi have been developing our ‘Real-Time Care’ – care management software in Finland for over 15 years. In fact, we have about a 60% market share there. From large cities and municipalities to small privately run family businesses, we are the natural choice for many. We are now growing our UK side of the business and we are seeing the same levels of interest as back home.

We believe that every residential and domiciliary care service deserves to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ because of this, we would like to offer you a free demo of the product and a consultation about how Fastroi can help you become ‘Outstanding’.

You can also meet our team in Birmingham at the Dementia Care and Nursing Home event on the 26th and 27th of March.

Comparing the Scottish Care Inspectorate to the CQC in England?

As we head into the new year, we are planning to attend the Digital Health and Social Care 2019 in Edinburgh in February. As a result of this, we decided to take a look at how Scotland deals with their care environment.

Where the CQC operate in England, a body called The Care Inspectorate is responsible for the quality of care North of the border. We have been very impressed with the quality of the CQC reports and the data that it provided. It gave us the opportunity as a software vendor looking to enter the UK market, to gain a significant insight into the issues that many residential and domiciliary care services are facing.

Comparing Apples with Apples

The Care Inspectorate publishes reports from their inspections, however they have recently changed their inspection process. We looked at data from May 2018 (we have assumed this to be the old inspection framework) and data analysed in January 2019, relating to the second quarter of 2018/19 (assumed to be new inspection framework). Care Inspectorate Scotland have indicated that they will start using the new approach in care homes for older people from July 2018.

The old system assessed the quality of services against 4 criteria, with no overall quality assessment score being given. The criteria were: Environment; Staff; Care & Support; Management & Leadership.

There are 6 quality scores, plus a ‘Not Assessed’ option which was frequently used:

The new framework is structured around five key questions with the same score system and again, no overall grading:

  • How well do we support people’s wellbeing?
  • How good is our leadership?
  • How good is our staff team?
  • How good is our setting?
  • How well is our care and support planned?

Even looking at a small data set of 17 care services, we have been able to see that the percentage of ‘Weak’ and ‘Unsatisfactory’ assessments is very low for both residential and domiciliary care services. Something like 3-4%. This corresponds to figures in the CQC data of 20-25% of similar ratings of ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement’.

How Accurate is the Data?

We also see some significant improvements as we move between the old and the new inspection system. One thing we observed,  is that comparisons are difficult to make due to the fact that the assessment criteria in Scotland changed, but it is also quite different to the way the CQC carry out their inspections. One aspect of both the old and new reporting system that makes the data difficult to interpret, is the use of ‘Not Inspected’ in the reports. We saw many reports that didn’t seem to carry out a complete inspection. This was concerning, since many issues are interconnected. For instance, not inspecting ‘Management & Leadership’ will not give a complete picture of how the overall service is run. The lack of a single aggregate score also makes it harder to get a quick view of how well the service is performing.

The Digital Solution Still Makes Sense

The reports also showed an apparent lack of authority on the part of the Care Inspectorate to bring about change within services. Many reports made recommendations which were still being raised as issues, in follow-up reports. It seems that there is little point to having an inspection system, if the inspections are incomplete and any recommendations are not enforced.

The overall feeling from looking at the reports, is that the inspection system in Scotland is not as demanding as the CQC in England. The percentage of services that are Weak or Unsatisfactory is much lower, which begs the question – Are the care services in Scotland doing much better than those in England? Or is the inspection system just more rigorous in England?

We are very keen to learn more about how care services are regulated in Scotland, since we are sure that many of the issues faced in Scotland will be the same as those seen in England, and as we have pointed out in our White Paper, most of the most severe issues can be solved with the implementation of a good care management software system such as Real-Time Care from Fastroi.

We will be attending the Digital Health & Care conference at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on the 20th and 21st of February. We look forward to meet you there!