Annefield Grange is a residential care home in Ryde on the Isle of Wight. It has 25 care staff and 5 domestic and office staff caring for 18 residents with a relaxed, family feel.
We talked with Care Home Manager Katie Meadows and her Deputy Manager Louisa Brook about choosing and implementing PASS at Annefield Grange.
What made you choose PASS over other digital care management platforms?
Katie Meadows, Care Home Manager: I looked at three systems, but I had seen PASS where I worked before. They’d just brought it in, so it was something that was a little bit familiar to me. Out of all the systems, PASS had everything that we needed, and everything was so simple. You could log on having never used it before and just pick it up. Everything is literally in front of you. If you want this, click on it, it’s there, it’s done so that’s good.
The proprietor kept telling me, “We need more staff, we need more staff.” But I wanted to look at something other than just piling on more staff. And our team was really excited because paperwork was such a massive part of their day. In a six-hour shift, they could be spending up to two hours just doing paperwork! That’s the main reason we wanted the system and why staff were so happy, because they realized that if they all jumped on board and we got this working, it would benefit everybody, the staff, the clients, their families, everybody.
The Initial Sales Process
Who was part of the sales process?
Katie: It was mainly me and the manager from another home in the group (Cameron House – Dementia Care). When we had the initial meeting, I saw the benefits immediately but it took a little while for me to convince the others. From the day I started I said, “We need an electronic care home system. We need it, we need it, we need it!” The proprietor finally came around to the idea and said yes.
Training and Implementation
How have you found the process of training and implementation? How long did it take you to really get used to the system and start using it and how many people were trained initially?
Katie: It was a really good experience, our trainer was amazing and we loved her. She first trained me, Louisa and Faith from Cameron House, then the senior team. After that Louisa and I just passed it down to the rest of the staff. It was so easy to use once they logged in, especially for the younger ones who are technology-based in everything they do. They just said, “Yes, this is done, fine, not a problem.”
Louisa Brook, Care Home Deputy Manager: In the beginning I thought there could be one or two staff who might resist, especially older ones, but they get on really well with it.
Katie: It didn’t take very long to get used to the system and to start using it daily. By the time I’d added on my clients I knew PASS pretty much inside out because I was using it all the time and looking at every single tab and every single button. I was keen to make sure our notes were really complete, so I was meticulous. PASS allowed me to fill in preloaded documents as well as add our own bespoke ones and it has really paid off.
Once we got the first couple of clients on, the team kept saying “We want more, we want more”, so I was doing it as quickly as possible.
Everyday Use in the Home
What is your policy concerning tablets around the home? Do you give one to every member of staff?
Katie: We’ve got four tablets and staff use them as and when they need them. We’ve got to grips with the ‘device white list’ so no one can access PASS from anywhere else apart from the tablets that we’ve got here. Staff just use them as they go, everyone has just fallen into the routine: they do a task, they type what they’ve done and do whatever else.
What about remote access for you? Do you find that useful?
Katie: I’m always in touch. As soon as I notice anything, I text Louisa to say “You haven’t done this… Why has it not been completed yet? It’s five minutes overdue. What’s happening?” Then Louisa would laugh, “I’ve already spoken to them…” It is really great!
Louisa: Katie was away last week and I was off sick. The minute I woke up, I logged onto the system to keep my eye on it. If I see that something’s been missed, then I can get in touch straight away.
Katie: It has also helped us with looking at who has actually done what, task-wise. You could see who’s got out of bed, who’s had a shower today, who’s done this, who’s done that. Before PASS, you could do that, but obviously you’ve got over 18 folders for all these different documents. This is so much better!
How do you find the customer service and support from everyLIFE?
Louisa: They’re really good. Every time that we’ve called, which hasn’t been very often, they’ll usually answer our query straight away.
Katie: Yes, it is really good. You just call them whatever the time. I’ve never had an issue where they haven’t called me back, which you do find in many other busy customer services. Here they tell you, “I’ll ring you back when I find out”. They’ve always rung back straightaway or when they said they were going to ring. They always have a solution.
Advantages of PASS
Katie: My biggest concern when we first took on the system was about the data security and information being used elsewhere, like taking the clients’ notes out of the home. I was taught how to use the ‘device white list’ which is brilliant, so that now I know for sure that no one can do that.
When we started just over a year ago, medicines management was one of the areas that we knew could be improved here. Louisa and I have pushed and pushed the staff to make sure that they are spot on with everything they’re doing. Now, everyone’s doing everything right. It looks perfect.
Real-time alerts mean that we know for sure that we are up-to-date with everything and nothing is missed. Automatic review alerts are really good for us to – oh I’ve got one flashing up now! Because our clients all move in at different times, it was always difficult to keep up to date with reviews but now PASS just flashes up to remind us so we’re not worried about missing anything. We used to have to physically go to each person’s file and write down each of their care plan documents, all their assessments, what date they were due, when we’ve got to do the next ones etc etc. Now, it’s just there for us!
What are the main efficiencies that you’ve gained through using PASS? How do you sum up the benefits?
Katie: The time!
Time is a massive thing. In a care home, you don’t get much time, you’re on the go constantly. We frequently had to spend up to two hours of a 6-hour shift just to complete paperwork. Also, before it was one person doing that paperwork, so they don’t actually know what’s happened with that client. You’re asking someone to tell you what they’ve done. Then, you’re writing it down. The recordings were not nearly as accurate as they are these days. Now, each individual carer fills in a tablet when they’ve done a task, they know then that it’s done. We know that it’s done. We know who’s done it. We know what time it was done.
The staff like that as well. It saves them so much time, there’s pretty much an extra pair of hands on the floor now. The senior staff member on the floor used to just do medication and then they used to spend the rest of their time filling out paperwork.
Louisa: Now, because it’s shared, they each have their own little bit. They’re all on the floor together. It does save so much time.
Katie: As managers, we used to be so stressed. I felt that I couldn’t afford to put five staff on the floor because one of them has got to do all the paperwork. Now, where everyone’s involved in the care planning, writing their own notes, it saves so much time.
Our filing’s gone down too, that’s for sure. With regards to reviewing, now it’s all done automatically. Unless something changes, I don’t need to print out any documents. The printing, oh my goodness, we used to spend so much money on printing! Now it’s just as and when.
It used to take a whole day and then the night staff would finish it off for us because we were literally printing, printing, printing and all that filing as well. Now, when we need to look back on their records, they’re all easily accessible and in one place.
Louisa: It’s so much easier.
Do you feel that PASS has helped you to avert any situations from becoming crises like hospital admissions for example?
Katie: Yes, recently we noticed one of our ladies was losing weight. Her GP came to visit and asked us to record what she was eating for the next few days. I could tell her that it was already done. So rather than waiting another week to send in the doctor’s information, we could supply details for the last four weeks and then the GP could deal with it straight away. It turned out that it was her pain relief medication which was too strong for her, so she was just not wanting to eat, and she was just tired all the time. Without that information, we would not have been able to nip it in the bud and she could have deteriorated quite quickly.
I would say that our residents are actually happier and healthier as well because, like I said, we can spot things straight away now.
How have your residents taken to having the digital technology going on around them? Is that something they’ve warmed to?
Katie: They are used to it now. In the beginning I sent out a letter to the families explaining what we were doing. Some of them would say, “I think your carers are playing games.” I had to explain that they were recording the digital notes. That’s the way we do things now. They’re good really, getting involved, doing their “This Is Me’s” and things like that. I try to get our residents to speak into it, make it more interactive.”
How do you tell residents’ families about PASS?
Louisa: When people come in to have a look around, I tell them that we are paperless and they are quite impressed.
Katie: The first place they’d usually see PASS in action is at the assessment, either here or at home.
How was your latest CQC inspection?
Katie: We had one very recently in fact. We went from four ‘requires improvement’, to five ‘good’. We were so happy! It was Louisa and my first inspection as management.
Louisa: Yes. It was quite a proud moment
Do you feel that PASS was a contributing factor to your improvement?
Katie: Oh yes, for sure, because everything is so easy to show, and they (CQC) actually complimented us on the fact that it is so easy to find.
Louisa: And just how much information we’ve actually got in there too. Every risk assessment you can think of, we’ve got it on there available to view.
Katie: Every tiny little detail, and that’s because we’ve worked so hard and really, really wanted the system, like really wanted the system. As I said, I worked meticulously to get it all on there. Our CQC would not have been as good, but now we are running really effectively because of PASS, because we’ve got everything in one place, because everyone knows where to go to get information. And if there’s something wrong, we can spot it straight away and avoid escalations.
I know that if someone walked in right now, with regards to paperwork, it’s up to date, it’s done, it’s there. We know that everything we need is in place on the system, we know that everything’s being recorded. We know that reviews are done. Now, if it’s green it’s done, if it’s red it’s not done, do it. It’s that simple. That simple!
Would you recommend PASS to other businesses?
Katie: No question! It’s helped us massively, hasn’t it?
Louisa: We love PASS.
Top Tips For New Users
We found it easier setting it up by:
- Getting all the residents onto the system.
- Then adding the tasks.
- Getting all the staff used to the tasks and their daily records.
- Then taking across all of their assessments.
To do it all at once is too much for the staff to take in. By just doing the tasks for a month they can concentrate on that. Break it all down into an introductory workflow.
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