For most, if not all care home residents, one of the most important aspects of their daily lives is regular contact with loved ones. Likewise, friends and families of residents find it reassuring to be able to stay in contact with them and to be able to ask caring staff questions and provide feedback whenever required. One thing that the pandemic showed care managers everywhere was how devastating not being able to have this contact could be for all sorts of people.
Bearing all this in mind, the Care Vision team developed an interactive family mobile app that works in conjunction with the main care management software. The app has been designed specifically to facilitate contact and encourage communication and transparency between everyone involved in a resident’s life and care.
As well as families, staff can benefit from being able to keep everyone updated in one go, rather than spending a large amount of time calling round people, chasing up messages and sharing information multiple times. This also helps with the auditing and reporting processes, as care managers are able to demonstrate collaboration and transparency in their dealings with each relative’s family, friends and wider support network.
What the app allows users to do
The family app has a wide range of features and functions designed to keep the conversation flowing. Various pieces of admin, record-keeping and key reports can be shared between care staff and family members in order to build a comprehensive picture of each resident’s health, wellbeing and any changes or updates that need to be flagged up. This works both ways – family members can also inform the care home team about any details that they feel should be shared to assist with their loved one’s wellbeing.
Data and updates can be provided in as much detail as required, with areas covered including medication records, reports from medical professionals’ visits and appointments, daily notes from carers, fluid intake, weight management and food intake. All information is taken from the digital care management software, so everyone is working with the same facts and figures. This also enables the very best elements of team working to come to the fore, so that, between everyone involved in sharing communications via the app, nothing vital is missed or ignored.
Other key features include the ability to send and sign electronic care plans, and for family members and next-of-kin to provide consent remotely. To do this, the user simply uploads an electronic signature, which is sent to the appropriate care staff via the app. All forms, contracts, agreements etc. are sent this way too, so that everyone can read the details carefully before they sign anything. Of course, this also provides useful evidence of what family members have read and signed, in the event of any issues or queries further down the line. The care home remains in control of what information is shared and at what time.
Furthermore, the interactive nature of the family app means that it is a safe and effective way for family and friends to share feedback and make suggestions around their loved one’s care. Comments and queries get straight to the person for whom they are intended and the open, transparent process means that they can see when the person has submitted a reply.
In addition, photos can be shared via the app to share memories of fun events at the care home, or during external day trips, which keeps wider networks updated about what the resident has done each day. These can be particularly precious to loved ones unable to visit the care home as much as they would like due to distance or daily routines. It keeps everyone ‘in the loop’ and provides some enjoyable topics to discuss and memory prompts for a family phone call or video chat.
The whole tool is intended to foster two-way communications between care staff and friends and family, as well as involve the resident themselves if they are willing and able to contribute. As person-led care is really big news right now for the care sector, this direct access to essential details and feedback around a resident’s care is an extremely useful tool to have access to.