A home care provider based in the Midlands has implemented an early warning alert system for care staff that notifies them of any risks to safety when providing care, including those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The innovation team at Fosse Healthcare created the feature using technology available as part of its remote care planning system, Access Care Planning, which it uses for electronic care planning and monitoring care delivery.
Each care worker is given a smartphone loaded with the Access Care Planning mobile app to record, track and report on all aspects of their care delivery.
The warning system alerts care staff ahead of each visit as to whether anyone in the household they are about to enter is symptomatic, confirmed COVID-19 positive or shielding.
By using the alert created by Fosse, care workers are able to prepare for visits with the appropriate PPE to protect both themselves and the client, as well as to report on any issues or changes at the end of each visit – for example, if a client has developed symptoms, or received a shielding letter from the NHS or their GP since a previous visit.
Volt Sacco, managing director for Fosse Healthcare, said: “We have already seen a difference in how our care staff are using the PPE we provide. We hope that implementing this system will help make the PPE stocks we have go further, without compromising safety for our clients and care workers.”
Across the Social Care sector, COVID-19 has made continuity of care challenging, with more new care workers required to fill the shifts of those now self-isolating, shielding, or absent through sickness.
According to the UKHCA, staff absence among a sample of larger home care providers was between 11 and 16% in the week commencing April 13, with substantial regional variations.
This disruption to continuity of care has the potential to not only impact client experience, but also to create information gaps which may foster risk, if carers have incomplete or out of date information on clients they are seeing.
In normal times the primary risk is medication. During this pandemic, additional risks around not using the right PPE, or carers not taking the right precautions for clients who are self-isolating or shielding can emanate from information gaps.
Fosse Healthcare said that using cloud-based software, configured to meet the additional challenges of COVID-19, “closes these information gaps”, ensuring care workers have up-to-date information on their clients and procedures to follow, both from other carers and from our offices.