Shangri-La is a residential care home in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire. It has 20 care staff and 5 catering and domestic staff caring for 26 residents in a pleasant, lively atmosphere near the coast. Paula Key is the Care Home Manager and Samantha Squibb her Deputy Manager.
Training and Implementation
How did you find the process of implementation and training? How long did it take you to really get used to the system and start using it, and how many people were trained initially?
Paula: First of all it was just me and Sam who were trained, then we showed the other carers in the afternoon. The whole training process took a day to begin with, with an on-site trainer from everyLIFE, then about a month for everyone here to have total understanding of how the system works and to start using it every day.
Samantha Squibb, Care Home Deputy Manager: At the same time as we were learning, we got our tasks onto the system before we did the assessments. We still did the assessments on paper, then we added the assessments to the system, which meant that as we were updating, we were updating the assessments. Each care plan for a new resident took about eight hours because we are very in-depth and detailed with our plans. We put everything onto the system including Risk Assessments, as we find that it pays to be thorough.
Paula: Training just fitted in around our everyday work. The part of the process that was most intensive was putting the care plans onto the system. Then we got familiar with how The PASSsystem works with our existing work practices and care plans.
Samantha: The carers understood the new system within about half an hour. Once the setting up of the care plans had been done it was easy for them to go through and learn the tasks. It’s self-explanatory; they press a task and it tells them exactly what they have to do. The layout of PASS helps a lot with that too.
Paula: A lot of our staff were skeptical about using technology. A lot of them aren’t computer-literate; I think there are only about 10% of our staff who were looking forward to it, but they were all absolutely fine very quickly, once they used the system. Now everyone loves it, even the ones who were against it, love it now because they said it saved them so much time straight away, compared with before when they sitting down spending an hour or two hours at set periods during the day to fill out paperwork and write everything up. Now they do it as they go, as and when required, and the same work only takes them five minutes.
Only about half of our staff had ever used a smartphone or tablet before. Even most of the people who did have smartphones didn’t use them for much more than making calls and texting.
Samantha: And it’s more accurate too because there are prompts from the tasks, so the Care Workers are writing “Yes” or they’re writing down what they’re doing from having prompts. Before, when they were just writing freehand and there were no prompts, we were having to look back through old paperwork for information. So if an outside professional came in and said “How did Mrs Smith get on last week?”, and staff had to write major details in, they weren’t always there but now with the prompts we get much better notes.
Have you had many new staff joining since you launched PASS in your home?
Paula: Yes. They pick up PASS very easily. We don’t get involved because the other care assistants just teach them straight away, sit down with them and train them. We find that PASS is so easy to use that they can’t really go wrong. The staff tend to help each other really well.
Everyday Use in the Home
What is your policy concerning tablets around the care home? Do you give one to every member of staff?
Paula: We have six tablets and five are in use most of the time because that’s one for every member of staff in the morning. They keep them in the office and just pop back when they need them. When we have a GP in or an ambulance, the staff can take a tablet up to the resident’s room and go through the information as the doctor asks questions. It’s all just there with one or two clicks.
How do you find the customer service and support from everyLIFE?
Samantha: It’s good because you have an instant messenger help service as well as Customer Service people on the phone. We can just type our problem or question into the instant messenger box and the answer just comes back straight away. We only use the phone or email support very occasionally now.
Paula: I work from home sometimes so having instant messenger is great. Even if it’s in the evening and we have a question, people get straight back to us on instant messenger. When I’m at home I log in to PASS just to see if everything’s alright at the care home and to update care plans and stuff. So if someone has gone into hospital or passed away and I’m working from home, I just go into the system and update the care plan and update the resident’s status.
Advantages of PASS
Paula: PASS has really helped with staff confidence, with spelling and so on. PASS has been brilliant for that. Some people have really struggled with spelling but it’s not a problem now. We also find that the system helps reduce day to day risk in the business because it reduces errors caused by poor spelling.
Samantha: Everyone’s handwriting is different, so sometimes I couldn’t even read notes but with PASS whatever’s written I can read.
Can you describe the main efficiencies that you have gained through using The PASSsystem? How would you sum up the benefits of PASS? And what is the best thing about PASS?
Paula: For the carers it’s definitely time. For myself and Sam I feel it’s the alerts – when something has happened we’re able to monitor better. Instead of having to get out everyone’s files, everything is at your fingertips and very accessible. And if something is a high risk or a medium risk you can set up the system so they come up as an alert if we’ve missed it. This is perfect because sometimes you’re so busy you don’t focus, and the alert reminds you to focus that extra bit on that person. Then because we’ve got an extra prompt, we can’t go wrong. It’s a kind of safety valve which gives you peace of mind.
Samantha: And accuracy. This is one of the main reasons why we went for PASS. Sometimes the simple things don’t get recorded – like just saying that a resident’s mobility is good every day – because carers know it’s normal so they don’t bother recording it. But from the CQC’s point of view, if their mobility goes drastically downhill, they’re going to ask to see the evidence that it was good to begin with. Sometime you just don’t have this recorded.
Now, the constant prompts from PASS mean that the carers put in all the vital information every time.
Then if a CPN asks for a paper chart, we can produce an observation sheet so they don’t have to fill it out every time, which is what you do with a paper chart. That was one issue that we had. We had a resident who had behavior issues and staff weren’t filling out a paper chart every time. When the CPN came in to review the case, even though we could tell them what had happened, it wasn’t all documented. Having PASS means it’s regulated. We would set up a task to comment on behavior and then it’s always noted and progress is tracked.
Samantha: PASS also helps when you have respite. Because the resident is already in the system, when they come back from respite you can change their status and reactivate them, as opposed to going through the filing and not being able to find their records. With PASS you can just search them and their records come up.
Paula: The reviews functionality of PASS also saves us lots of time every month and it alerts you too if the review has been missed.
Are you making any savings on printing?
Paula: Definitely. We hardly use any paper now. Whereas before we were literally having to order paper once a week. And you can add to that big savings on printer ink which is very expensive for the business.
Paula: With the extra time that we all now have that has been freed up by using PASS in the care home we spend more time with the residents. We get to do a lot more things with them like taking them out a lot more, longer activities and involving them more with everything we do.
How have your residents taken to having digital devices around them associated with their care?
Samantha: At first they’re a bit baffled, especially with the digital signatures, but we use styluses for them now and they’ve taken to it well, as have the family members. The families love that it’s quick and easy to access so we can spend less time doing paperwork and more time with their relatives.
We are introducing openPASS in the home soon so families can see what we are doing. Of course it will be up to individual families to see if they want to get involved.
Do you think showing PASS to families of potential residents has made the difference in persuading the individual to come to your home?
Paula: Definitely. Only recently we had someone whose family loved the idea that they would be able to view their mother’s care plan. That has made them come to us and it’s helped us keep our home full.
How do you tell residents’ families about PASS?
Paula: Usually in resident and family meetings. Also, when we go out to do an assessment before someone comes into our home, we show the family that this is how we do our care plans and so on.
How was your latest CQC inspection?
Paula: It was okay. Our inspector is not computer-literate and she had a very short time to look at everything. So when I said it would take me ages to print everything off in the old-fashioned way she quickly got used to having everything on screen.
When we’ve had CPN and social workers asking for care plans we’ve just given them the computer and said it’s all here. They really like it. The most recent CPN we had in said he preferred the digital record over the paper copy because it was more legible and it was easier for him to use because he knew where to find things and found it easy to navigate around to get what he needed, much faster and clearer than flicking through paper copies of everything.
Paula: We really like all the updated documents that are already on the system. They are the latest versions and give you peace of mind that you are using the best ones available to you. Great for compliance and inspections.
Would you recommend PASS to other businesses?
Paula: Oh yes, absolutely!
Samantha: We’ve already recommended it to another home in our group!
Paula and Samantha's Set-Up Tips for New Users
We found it easier setting it up by:
- Getting all the residents onto the system.
- Then doing the tasks.
- Getting all the staff used to the tasks and their daily records.
- Then taking across all of their assessments because 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.