Every care home relies on knowing who is on the premises and the reason they are there. Traditionally, a paper-based signing in book would sit on the reception desk. People would sign in, adding details such as their name, the person they are visiting, times in and out and vehicle registration if they drove there. Digital visitors book comes as the alternative of paper based visitor logs which is much more safer and efficient.
This is all essential information to record. Especially following the COVID-19 pandemic where care home visitors’ details are vital for Track and Trace. However, keeping the completed books (and reading people’s handwriting) can become a nuisance as time goes by. The solution? Switch to a digital visitors book instead.
What is a digital visitors book?
Simply put, a digital visitors book does away with the need for a paper version. It is a digital visitor management system that connects to the internet and stores all visitor information securely. Care home visitors type in their details, or bring up their pre-existing records if they are a regular attendee. This safe and secure,helps to save time, improve data accuracy and increase security across the care home.
Digital visitor books can also be linked to other aspects of care home management software. For example, pass badges for care home visitors can be automatically printed and parking permits issued. Dietary requirements can be recorded and sent to the kitchen so that appropriate meals can be prepared in advance.
Staff rotas can also be linked to details recorded in a digital visitors book so that certain people are on duty when specific visitors are expected. For example, the general manager can be scheduled to be on site when a care home inspector is due. Or an events coordinator can be alerted when an external entertainer arrives on site to set up.
Accessibility issues, for example a care home visitor requiring a ramp for their wheelchair, can be recorded once on the system and referred to electronically each time they come. A digital visitors book can also be linked to pre-approved key fobs to allow easier access for part-time staff, regular care home visitors, agency workers or contractors.
Why is a digital visitors book so important?
Signing in at the front desk or reception area is usually a visitor’s first contact with your care home. They should be made to feel welcome, yet also be made aware of any and all security requirements prior to being admitted. Asking visitor signing using digital means shows them that you are using modern technology to run your care home as effectively as possible. It also offers added reassurance that their personal details will be secured correctly via an electronic device. Rather than written down in a paper-based record book that anyone passing by can read.
As for your care home staff, it offers them a secure record of who has visited and when. It tells you which resident or staff member has been visited, why and for how long. These details can be useful in the event of an inspection, complaint or emergency. Having a secure digital visitors book helps your care home adhere to GDPR and its rules around the safe keeping of personal information.
Additionally, visitor records stored electronically can be analysed to spot patterns of activity. This can help inform rota planning and staff management. The system can tell you when to put additional staff on reception to welcome visitors, for example, or when quieter periods allow employees to take breaks. Finally, a digital visitors book can be portable, meaning that it can be used wherever you need it most. It can even be taken off site for special events like a day trip or hospital visit, provided the internet connection can be set up to enable this.
What information should you record?
Keeping track of who is on site, where they are and what times they arrive and depart is vital for all sorts of reasons. These include creating evacuation lists in the event of a fire, COVID-19 tracing and, most of all, ensuring your care home residents’ safety. A digital visitors book can also help keep staff and contractors safer too, as everyone knows who should (and shouldn’t) be on site. Key information to record in a digital visitors book includes:
Person they are visiting
Reason for visit
Duration of visit (i.e. times in and out)
Car registration number if they are parking on site
Any special requirements e.g. disability access
All of this not only gives a full picture of everyone who is on the premises, but it can also help make the care home visitors themselves feel comfortable, e.g. recording any special requirements and noting vehicle registration numbers for added security in the car park.
Finally, you can customise your record keeping more fully with a digital visitors book. So, if you want to add security questions to verify people’s identity, you can do so. You can also create bespoke record keeping for special occasions such as public open days. This not only provides a comprehensive record of attendees, but gives you an easy list to follow up with marketing or administrative contact after the event.