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It is important to note, that there is no quick fix to reducing the number of incidents since it requires a dedicated effort from everyone within the organisation in order to see results.
Staffing shortages have an effect on safe practices. High vacancy rates and a reliance on agency staff to fill these beds can be a significant safety concern. For example, the likelihood of agency staff making errors may sometimes increase, as they are not familiar with the service, and may not have the required training or a proper induction to a home. (Source: State of Care) Here, technology can help increase transparency and information available for both full-time staff and agency staff.
More specifically, a change to the way of documenting from text-heavy documentation to more effective pre-empted recording. It may appear to be a big change, but when in fact done right, could simplify operations to a great extent with CQC already having provided clear guidelines for this.
With the requirements clearly stated and the staff knowing what to do, they will be able to spend their time with the residents and better utilise this on planned, rehabilitating and preventative actions. Digitisation can help by providing this red line throughout the service, keeping back-office logs to a minimum, and ensuring quality assurance in the care home – safeguarding both the residents and the staff. As a result, minimising the frequency of accidents and incidents.
A care home that centres its communication, planning, and documentation around each individual resident’s needs, is well on the way. This enables the possibility of providing bespoke care for everyone. For instance, residents with speech-impairment can be offered meals in keeping with their requirements and preference, as this information is accessible through clear and concise care plan guidelines. Another example is new residents who can receive more person-centred care, as their care plans including their needs and preferences may be shared in real-time across teams and professions. All such care delivery is visible and can be followed up adequately, at the same time as an audit trail is being kept.
Observing these “single data points” from an organisational level, they become a rich topsoil out of which a caring next-practice grows. Here, documentation plays an important part generating a view across time and place, allowing for care providers to enhance all parts of their service, and build from previous experiences and learnings to overcome accident and incidents, through their observations.