Cantraybridge College is a specialist Further Education college for young adults with additional support needs, based in Inverness, Scotland.
We talked with Head of Operations Hazel MacDonald, Independent Living Coordinator Sheena Beaton and Independent Living Manager Jon Lane about choosing and implementing the PASSsystem at Cantraybridge College.
What made you choose to go digital with the PASSsystem?
Hazel: One of the things that struck me, coming from a very automated banking background, was how paper-based and chaotic this all seemed. We had paper Care Plans and separate Risk Assessments etc. Our Care Inspector picked up on this as he was worried about consistency. It was very difficult to ensure this, with multiple paper documents, filed or misfiled separately. It meant that staff who were supposed to finish by 10 o’clock rarely did, because everyone was fighting over access to paper files but had to wait their turn. That was quite difficult, and I was looking for some way of automating it to make it better. Both money and time are always tight around here, so I needed something that would save both.
PASS saves an enormous amount of time. It’s cut down on errors, improved accuracy and it’s actually given us a lot of confidence in knowing that we have an accurate account of an individual’s support needs.
Jon: It’s the only way it can go, isn’t it really? It just makes sense. It fits with what we do.
Hazel: Digital technology is definitely the future. That’s what it is. We need to be ensuring that we’re making the changes now, that we’re ready for these things.
The initial sales process
Who was part of the sales process?
Hazel: I came across everyLIFE at a conference. I spoke to my Chief Exec and Finance Manager about it and set up a demo for us all. Sheena also came because she is the one who works on it all the time and had much better knowledge than me, because I was still quite green back then. We all thought, “This looks pretty good,” and when we looked at the figures too, we decided to go for it.
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 relying on it?
Hazel: Our trainer firstly showed the managers how to get started and then he gave us the chance to go away and use it. He then checked that we were okay and went over a few questions that came up. Initially, there was quite a lot of work in getting everybody set up, but that was all part of the learning process and the results of that have been really great.
Sheena: I handled the staff training and did individual demos. Most were okay; some were a bit nervous and apprehensive because they liked the old ways. We had some who have been in the business for a long time and were not computer-literate so lacked confidence. It wasn’t the PASSsystem that they were nervous about: it was using a computer.
Hazel: There was one in particular who wasn’t very comfortable. She was the first one you trained, and she was cock-a-hoop. She really liked that, telling everybody, “This is great. Look, I can do this so you can do this.” That made all the difference. It only took us about a month to actually get all the information in and go live.
Everyday use in the college and residences
What’s your policy concerning tablets? Do you give one to every member of staff?
Jon: Yes, we have six tablets for the carers and then we usually have one that we can share in the office. During their shift, they each have their own tablet and it’s theirs and they can tick things off and they can write things in there with no hassle. They do it at their leisure, at their speed, their time. Now we no longer have the clamour of everyone trying to do things all at once, usually in a hurry, and unable to be as descriptive as they should because they want to get off home. Staff are happier and they feel their time is more productive.
What about remote access for management? How has that changed or impacted your working day?
Sheena: When I’m sitting at home, I’ll just use my phone to check in, especially over the weekend. Just to save us something to do on the Monday morning.
Jon: After the Countryfile weather, I just check in so that I know what it’s going to be like for the week at work. I just have a quick flip through to see if there’s anything I need to know in advance. PASS works very well on the phone: I was quite surprised.
Hazel: Exactly. It’s amazing how quickly you can open up and go through it all. Carers do the same too, especially after holiday. They’ve also told me they’ve gone home and remembered something they had forgotten, so they just log in and write it in, then they don’t have a sleepless night or anything, and it’s done. That’s been good from our perspective.
How do you find the customer service and support from everyLIFE?
Hazel: It’s rare you find a product and a company that is as great as this. It’s phoning up people to say, “I’ve got a problem, how do I fix it?” Or you say, “I don’t understand this…” The answer is always, “Right, let me help you.” It’s immediate: nobody says, “I’ll phone you back,” and then takes a week before they reply. They are so on the ball and easy to deal with. So helpful. I think the staff team you’ve got are pretty fantastic, and you can quote that as well!
Sheena: Yes. We’ve all been hugely impressed by the product itself and also the support service. Often, when you buy something and you’re promised all this support on the back of it, once they have got your money for it, they’re not interested in providing anything else, but it’s the total opposite with everyLIFE.
Hazel: I quite like the wee button where you can put a message and they answer, “Try this.” I tried this and it didn’t work. “What have I done?” I said, “Well, you’ve done this, so now do that.” It went back and forward, and I think he must have thought, “What an idiot she is,” but he was infinitely patient. We eventually got there. They are great!
Advantages of the PASSsystem
Compliance and Managing Risk
How has PASS helped to improve these?
Hazel: PASS fits in so nicely with the new GDPR laws that have come out: everything’s secure. With the best will in the world, someone could always leave a filing cabinet wide open; this is always nice and secure. You feel comfortable with the information that’s in there only being accessible to the people that need it. It’s kept healthy, tidy and easy to update. You’re not adding a new Care Plan and then shredding an old one or forgetting and then leaving the old one lying around. Everything gets updated when it needs to be updated, in one central place and in real time. It can be done in two minutes. It’s much more efficient. Much more efficient!
Sheena: Yes, I would agree. A good thing is if somebody’s missed any meds, we know why they’ve missed it, because PASS prompts for a reason. The evidence is there. So if there is an incident, it means we can get a lot of the information from PASS which can be sent on to Care Inspectorate and ESP forms as well. That info will show times, the person responsible, it’s got the signatures and things like that. That makes a big difference, because when it came to incident reports before, it was all in paper form. Someone could have written it and then where did they even put it? Impossible! Do you know what I mean? Especially when, in a couple of years’ time you get asked for the information about certain things, then you had to go through 20,000 pieces of paper to try and find the information, because it was all in daily progress reports. And then if it is not in the right place it could be quite irretrievable.
Hazel: Yes, and for example, we’ve got a couple of young ladies resident here who have quite severe emotional needs so psychology have given us some strategies to help them. They’re all on PASS and quite clear on there, at the touch of a button, whereas in the past, staff would have to go and get the paper file out and go through sheets and sheets and sheets to try and find something that maybe somebody’s taken out before and not put back. So from that point of view it’s there, any medical needs, or emotional needs, or specific support needs are there and accessible; so we can avoid the risks that unnecessary upset or delay or even mishandling might incur.
What are the main efficiencies that you’ve gained through using the PASSsystem? How do you sum up the benefits?
Hazel: We are saving hours of our time right across the staff and PASS is saving paper and storage or shredding too. It was actually a fire hazard storing all that stuff, so actually there’s improved safety for staff and students overall; so, yes, very positive. From a business perspective, looking at it that way, I think it’s more than worth every penny.
Sheena: Money is very tight and continues to get tighter. PASS is such a help. I think of the staff time alone that has been saved: we were probably looking at a good four members of staff working an extra ten minutes every evening. It may not sound much, but multiply 40 minutes by 365 days, and it’ll be quite a significant number: about 2 ½ days per month.
Hazel: Yes, from a business perspective, it saved us money and saved us time, and there’s much more accountability with PASS, much more evidence of what people are doing. And I like the dashboard. The dashboard is great because you can look at that and see everything at a glance. We have six weekly support and supervisions with staff, it’s very visual and evident, so I like that very much, it’s good.
Do you think that PASS has helped to improve your care?
Hazel: Yes, I do.
Sheena: Yes, definitely.
Hazel: We’ve captured a lot more info about individuals’ care needs, it’s much easier to read it, it’s just there at the touch of a fingertip. If a carer is new here, if they’re unsure of what somebody needs, they can very quickly look it up and it’s all there for them. That improves the care.
Sheena: It’s much more person-centred now.
Hazel: Yes, isn’t it? Because there are some people who put really great notes and some who have maybe been putting quite sparse notes, and they’ve noticed the difference and upped their game, so it’s good: that’s really good peer pressure.
Jon: Sometimes you’ll see notes are actually in the words of a student. We have a particular student who had written this note. He bought himself a lovely pizza, cooked it in this lovely oven sort of thing. It’s how he’s talking, so it’s quite nice that it’s not quite as clinical. “Fred had his lovely pizza with his lovely chips.” It sounds a little bit more people-y. But you still have the information there when you need it. One of the reasons we are successful here is, as our inspector says, because we are very person-centred. We do take it seriously right across the board.
Do you feel that the PASSsystem was a contributing factor to your improvement?
Hazel: I think for a Care Inspector to say that we’re leading the field up here by having the PASSsystem in place is as a good indication of how well it’s working. I think PASS has really enhanced everyone’s work. It’s enhanced their ability to do the job and do it well. And we all get a bit more job satisfaction from that.
Jon: PASS is showing that we’re a high-flying service. It’s reassuring to be able to look and say, “We are actually doing it well.” When our Inspector comes in, we can pop him in front of the computer and say, “There you go. There’s your access. Do what you like.” He can delve as deep or as little as he wants. It’s all there. It makes his inspection a hell of a lot easier to do. Now he goes, “Well, there’s less of a headache.”
My files used to be literally six, eight inches thick. Absolutely insane! We had them all in nice little dividers and that, but it doesn’t make life very easy. Now, he can skip around and find whatever he likes.
Would you recommend the PASSsystem to other businesses?
Hazel: Yes, definitely! We advocate PASS quite a lot. I’ve already spoken to people from other companies. I’m happy to speak to anybody about PASS because it helped us enormously in our business.
Jon: We love it, it’s so good. Last year the Care Inspectorate said to us we were leading the field up here.
Sheena: PASS is wonderful.
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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