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In the last ten years, there has been an increasing amount of focus on person-centred care, care tasks, documentation and rehabilitation. As a consequence, today’s care staff are spending less time socialising with the residents. This can leave care staff with a stressful feeling of not quite cutting it, and not providing the level of care to the residents that they deserve. This is due to the time constraints the current documentation process creates. Currently, the average care homes spend 20% of their time on paperwork and have 100 separate items of paperwork (JRF.org.uk). This requires too much time is being spent documenting, that could be spent with the residents.
As of right now, most care homes use paper and the classic PC documentation. There is a huge potential for streamlining the documentation process in the UK residential and nursing homes- by switching to a more contemporary way of documenting, where the information needed to perform the care tasks is available at hand instead of the office or nurses’ station.
As the scope of diagnosis in the care homes increase, the overall complexity in the care home also increases. As a result, documentation has become a key part of care. It is important to know exactly how a task should be done, in order to provide the best possible care for each individual resident. By having the information ready at hand, you save your staff a long walk back and from the office, freeing up more time that can be spent socialising with the residents.
The situation requires a look at the residents’ care plan and the individual efforts, that are being done to fulfil this, and afterwards make the necessary changes. A lot of care homes are already working like this, which gives the residents a service that both they and their family and friends expect and are happy with.
In essence, it is about 3 things:
Today, documentation and registration of daily care tasks take up more resources than ever. As the requirements for what should be documented and demands for data security have become stricter, the need for more personalised care has also increased. This leaves the care staff with less time to provide care, which could have detrimental effects on both the residents receiving the care and the staff. For the residents, they may miss out on receiving the needed care, and for the staff, this could mean a more stressful work day.
The documentation framework is outlined by CQC, so it is not a discussion about what should be documented, but rather how you document most efficiently. It is paramount to substitute the old dusty folders full of papers and detailed descriptions of observations to a smarter and more intuitive way of coordinating the planning efforts.
The purpose of the care staffs’ presence is the desire to make a difference for others. No one should be treated as just ‘another bed’. Person-centred care is as much about compassion as professionalism.
Digitalisation can help carers stay focused on the main care task (and their interaction with the residents), by finding and collecting information, which documents that the right considerations and evaluations have been made. In this way, documentation contributes to quality assurance that can benefit both the staff and most importantly the residents.
By creating several smaller best practices, it will help structure and standardise the service. However, to avoid potential mistakes and shortcomings, it requires continuous evaluation. It is necessary that important information can be accessed quickly and easily, in order to provide a level of care that is built upon all of the care staff’s experiences.
Here, documentation plays an important part since it enables staff to get an overview of each individual resident, so they can easily share important information about the resident to secure excellent care.