Bluebird Care Edinburgh and Glasgow is an award-winning provider, delivering high quality homecare and support services across the whole of Edinburgh and Glasgow.
We talked with Jane Perry, Owner and Manager, about choosing and implementing the PASSsystem at Bluebird Care Edinburgh and Glasgow.
What made you choose the PASSsystem over other digital care management platforms?
It was from meeting a fellow franchisee. We were very keen to see how he was progressing because like us, he had multiple franchises and, like us, probably lay awake at night thinking about medication errors and missed visits and things like that. So it was all about having peace of mind for us and moving away from paper.
When we saw the demo I thought, “Okay, this is why I was going paperless.” We immediately liked what we saw and could really see the benefits of the system. Even in its infancy (we implemented PASS here over three years ago now), we could see the benefits of this. It was like a light bulb moment.
Training and Implementation
How did you find the process of training and implementation?
Jane: With any new technology you bring in, moving away from a completely archaic paper system to a digital system, it’s a very big step. It meant a big change and staff were very used to the old ways. From a carer point of view, a whole re-education was needed. You had to look at privacy and confidentiality issues and, three years ago, there were a lot of carers who didn’t have their own mobiles.
Now for our new starters it’s a part of our induction: there’s a whole session on the PASSsystem. We introduce them to the phones which will have live information because their runs will be set up by then. They’ll get extra mentoring, but I’ve always said that using PASSsystem is no more difficult than using Facebook. It really isn’t a difficult system.
Everyday use in the business
What’s your policy concerning mobile devices? Do you provide them or do staff use their own?
Jane: Initially we provided devices for everyone through your partner Grapevine Telecom. We bought the carers their phones, we bought the supervisors the tablets, we had the whole thing implemented in the office. We didn’t do it in bits. I’m not that kind of person, with me it’s all or nothing.
How do you find the customer service and support from everyLIFE?
The team are absolutely fantastic! I cannot speak highly enough of our experience of working with them. So much so, that I feel they have set a standard that I’ve grown to expect of other places too now. Nothing was too much of a problem. There was always someone at the end of the phone. They’d go to those lengths because I think they were always passionate about the success of the system and wanted it to work for everybody. It is very evident that they are a great team. We continue to work with the team with the development portal, we put ideas up and it’s nice to see their progress. Even this morning, we said “We could put this new idea forward in the ideas portal.” If it hasn’t been done, it will be getting done.
It’s great to work with people who never think things are too much of a bother, or don’t make you feel stupid because you ask a question. You can’t be expected to know everything and I’ll ask a question that’s probably been asked ten times, but I don’t get made to feel silly.
I’ve been working with our EP a wee bit lately, on developing documents and having that access to her diary, to be able to say, “Right, okay. Let’s have a 15-minute session on this, it would be great just to chat this over.” That’s fab. For me, it’s fab as a business owner. Being able to count on that support, it’s very valuable to me.
Advantages of the PASSsystem
Compliance and Managing Risk
How has PASS helped to improve these?
To have information at my fingertips and not have to collate the MAR charts every 20 days, not have to audit the visit records once a month, is such a relief! It was such a laborious task! Sometimes files were coming into the office and just sitting on a pile, frankly. Nobody had time to see what was going on in the field and the carers were the same. It didn’t feel good.
So, when the PASSsystem came around, I thought, “I can see the benefits of that, that, that and that,” because it ticks a lot of boxes. It also helped me to sleep at night, because I didn’t need to lie there and say, “Why didn’t she get her medication on the 14th of December 2015?” The carers couldn’t possibly remember that day. So, to then try to pinpoint the medication error, who it was that was visiting that day etc, was sometimes just impossible. Going back over things and having to haul up information was a nightmare. I could see that PASS meant an end to all that.
Having that fingertip information if there are problems, allows staff to refocus and be much more immediate with their activities, so we can phone a GP and say, “Medication was missed this morning, how will this affect them? Can we give the next dose?” and it’s being dealt with there and then. People are being kept well as opposed to realising 28 days too late that someone’s not had their medication or been double-dosed at the beginning of the month. PASSsystem’s real-time alerts are brilliant. When an alert comes up in the system, we know instantly, and we have all the evidence that we need to sort it out without delay. All of which means that we now give much more person-centered and better care.
What are the main efficiencies that you’ve gained through using the PASSsystem? How do you sum up the benefits?
Jane: Well, fairly early on we realised that we needed to change our structure because we found we didn’t need as many supervisors. Like I was saying with the going out and collecting MAR charts and the audit, it had been someone’s responsibility to do that and now we didn’t need to. With over a hundred customers to get around once a month, that’s a lot of work for someone. When it was all automated, that task was completely removed. That was a great saving there. We moved the supervisor into a different role within the business, so we saved a whole supervisors salary effectively at that time. It was great for us. Financially, PASS meant a significant saving. And then time-wise, for the other supervisors it was liberating, because there were so many time savings throughout the day.
How has PASS helped to improve your care? Do you feel that PASS has helped you to avert any situations from becoming crises like hospital admissions, for example?
Jane: Because carers can check the notes outside in their car, they already know what they’re going into when they arrive for a visit. If someone’s not had a particularly good morning and you’re going in at lunchtime, you can pick up on that and see what’s happened. That communication helps because it’s all about person-centered care in the end, isn’t it?
There might have been instances where, say, the family have come in and given medication and the carers who are supposed to be administering the medication have done so too, so now suddenly Mum or Dad’s been double-dosed. That can make someone quite sick depending on the medication that they take. Mum’s now sitting in her chair and she can’t get up because of the effects of the medication. PASS empowers the careworker to deal with that situation themselves, to be phoning the pharmacist and saying, “Here’s what I’ve done, what do I do next?” or whether it be NHS 24 or whoever, for them to give the care worker the advice to say, “No, this is okay. Don’t give her the next dose, here’s how we can avert a crisis here.” The care worker being able to feed back via incident form to say, “Here’s the problem, it’s been resolved by…” and the care manager just has to go, “Okay, great.” I don’t imagine it’s a nice feeling initially. It’s like, “Oh God, there’s been a mistake,” but to have that control over the situation is vital: “Well, here’s how to fix that mistake.”
That trail of accountability is evidenced clearly because it’s very important to be able to track that back and for them to know that they’ve played the right part in that too. But we’ve not had too much of that, thank goodness!
Do you think the quality of care notes has generally improved?
Jane: Yes, absolutely! It’s now part of the training. We used to have carers who just wrote a couple of notes: “All tasks complete.” And you think, “Well, actually, how was the person during that visit?” If I’ve got openPASS, for example, and I’m in Australia, I want to see how Mum was that day and what she had for her dinner so that we can have a conversation when I phone, that’s just not enough. I don’t just want to know that all tasks were complete, I want to know that she enjoyed her haggis and that she was sitting watching Countdown. PASS shows that level of detail.
We explain that these are legal documents and to take care when using abbreviations for instance. Because what I understand that abbreviation to be is not necessarily what someone else may read. I tell them my experience of someone who was AWOL. Because that’s not my background, I didn’t understand that AWOL was, ‘All Well On Leaving,’ and I thought it meant they’d disappeared. I thought they’d ‘gone AWOL’ and this person was missing and I’m busy looking through the Bluebird Care’s policy on customer not at home, who should we phone, where’s the next of kin, have they got the capacity. But that abbreviation just meant, ‘All Well On Leaving.’ Now I can look back and think that funny and I can use that experience and tell the care workers about the power of using abbreviations.
Notes have noticeably improved now, we’ve got a lot more and better information generally and that’s fab.
Now that carers see each other’s notes, it has engendered a certain pride in their own work, and they are picking up on each other. They’re saying, “Well, I’ve been on holiday and the night before my first shift back, I was looking over the notes to see how my customer’s been while I’ve been off, and your notes don’t tell me anything.” So, they’re moaning at each other about the quality of the notes. I think, “Good, so you should” Yes, that’s funny that’s been picked up on, whereas it always used to be us saying, “Get your notes clear, make sure they’re accurate, make sure they’ve got enough information in there.” And of course, now with openPASS carers realise that not only is it a legal document, but that families can now read the notes they’re leaving, that is a new ball game.
How have your customers taken to having the digital technology going on around them? Is that something they’ve warmed to?
Jane: You do still get a couple of grumblings about the carers on their phones. These are people who don’t have mobiles themselves. It’s just about explaining that this is what the carers need to do their job. This is how the carers can see your information and they can let the office know that they’ve arrived safely, that they’ve left safely, and that they are done all the tasks that you’ve asked us to do when we first met you. Once they understand they are quite happy with it.
How do you tell customers’ families about openPASS?
We love it and straight away we told everyone about it. They love it now, mostly it’s been sons and daughters that have taken up openPASS, especially when they don’t live nearby. They may be living more far-flung and quite like to just have a wee check and then see what’s being done. I think openPASS is fab and if it was my Mum receiving care, I would definitely want openPASS.
How was your latest visit from the Scottish Care Inspectorate?
Jane: It was last month and we scored sixes throughout!
Do you feel that the PASSsystem was a contributing factor to your improvement?
Jane: It certainly sharpened our pencil because the Care Inspectorate are looking at the reports and audit trails very closely. They want to see everything evidenced, and that is so easy with PASS.
We weren’t nervous, even back in 2015, when we had first brought PASS in and it wasn’t as capable as now, the care inspector loved it at the time. We got sixes, which is the grade “Excellent”. They were just blown away with the capacity and they could immediately see the benefits of it. In fact, I’m sure if you go back in our inspection reports, there’s actually quotes from the care inspector about the PASSsystem.
We just give them a temporary login and say “There you go, there’s a seat, here’s a cup of tea and just shout if you need anything.” There was openness and transparency throughout the inspection which was quite refreshing for them I should imagine. And they saved time too because they weren’t clambering about in filing cabinets trying to find things or, “Wait a minute, I haven’t filed that MAR chart. It’s sitting on a pile on the window ledge through there.” So yes, I think it was a breath of fresh air for him.
Would you recommend the PASSsystem to other businesses?
Jane: Absolutely! I’m really glad to have been part of PASS since the beginning and being an early adopter, because I have been able to recommend the PASSsystem to other providers who ask, “You’ve got the PASSsystem. What’s it really like?” and I have them come and see it. There’s been many people that we’ve been able to sit down with and show them the system.
I’ve been happy to be an advocate for the PASSsystem. I’m quite happy to share it all because I think it’s fab.
Genuinely, if someone comes along and says, “What do you think? I’m looking at the system,” I would say, “Well, the PASSsystem has been going for four years now, any little idiosyncrasies have been ironed out. Everything’s now as it should be and they’re much more advanced in developing their systems. I still don’t think that any other providers are anywhere near where the PASSsystem is. Go for it!”
Top Tips For Using PASS
Make the most of the PASSsystem for domiciliary care by:
- Logging in online every morning to download your bookings and ensure all your customers are up to date;
- Logging in offline whilst in areas of low signal to enter the app and view data downloaded from your last online login;
- Tagging in on arrival, as your visit time doesn’t start until you do!
Click here to download this case study as a PDF file.