According to UK charity, Macmillan Cancer Support, there are currently around three million people living with cancer in the UK. On average, someone is diagnosed with cancer every 90 seconds. So, it is highly likely that there will be people affected by cancer living in your care home. While you will doubtless have many systems, processes and treatment plans set up to help residents, there are also several ways in which your digital care management software can provide support.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and cloud-based storage and internet enabled communications, carers can stay in touch with residents and families more than ever. They can also keep residents’ medical and general records updated and share information to facilitate treatments and emergency responses, among other things. Here are some of the digital tools that can help care teams look after residents and patients living with cancer and help improve their quality of life.
Switching from a paper-based medication record to an electronic one helps carers keep track of medicines, tablets and treatments given to people living with cancer. Often, dosages are adjusted and different drugs trialled to see what combination suits the individual person best. There can be troublesome side-effects with certain cancer medications that need to be mitigated against with other drugs to keep the person feeling as well as they possibly can. Using a digital system that carers can update straightaway, without needing to complete multiple forms or search for paper-based folders prevents errors or omissions from creeping in. Issues around illegible handwriting or missing pages are also eradicated using the eMAR system.
As well as the adverse effects that cancer itself can have on a person, treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy can also be extremely testing on the patient’s health and wellbeing. In residential care settings, the ability to closely monitor various aspects of people’s health during cancer treatments is invaluable. For example, keeping a close eye on weight loss, fluid intake and emotional or behavioural changes, or monitoring the situation after someone has fallen over. Worrying trends or anomalies can be flagged up to carers straight away and specialist medical help and support sought if necessary.
Diet and nutrition
Likewise, monitoring people’s diet and nutritional intake during cancer treatment is very important. Often, treatments can leave people feeling sick and reluctant to eat or drink. Being able to use information about care home residents’ personal food and drink preferences can help kitchen teams to prepare tempting snacks and meals that align with medical requirements, allergies, times of day etc. This can also be linked to eMAR information, for example if residents have to take medication before meals, after eating or on an empty stomach.
Mental health and emotional support
Living with cancer is very difficult emotionally as well as physically. Lots of people struggle with the anxiety and uncertainty that accompanies this most unwanted of diagnoses. Understanding what people are going through and when and how to offer them emotional support is key to their ongoing mental health and inner wellbeing. Care Vision has many tools to help with this; from staff rota planning functions to enable enough carers to be available to talk to worried residents, to booking counsellors, cancer nurses and other specialists to help answer questions and offer reassurance. The system can also help care teams plan activities and entertainments to raise residents’ spirits and bring everyone together in companionship.
Friends and family
A cancer diagnosis can be hard on the person’s friends and family too, as they face the prospect of their loved one becoming ill and having to undergo difficult treatment. There are often hard decisions to be made as well. A care home resident may well have friends and family members closely involved, whether though frequent visits, phone calls or the need to keep them informed about their loved one’s progress, medication and treatment plan. Care Vision keeps all key information about each resident in one digital place, ready to share with relevant loved ones and medical professionals involved in the resident’s care. The secure system also includes an electronic visitors’ book feature to help keep track of visitors and protect everyone’s safety on site.