Silverline Care operates 12 elderly care nursing homes across Scotland and the north of England with the philosophy of putting staff and residents at the heart of everything they do. This is exemplified in how they have invested in the latest mobile technology from Perfect Ward, which supports staff and provides high quality care for residents.
Perfect Ward is a digital solution that has enabled Silverline to develop and implement a more efficient and effective quality programme. The team can access meaningful, real-time data and frontline staff have more time to care for residents because they feel empowered to ‘own’ quality’. Communication with management has become more frequent and focused on key actions to improve quality and safety across the homes. It is easy for nurses and carers to have instant access to the latest guidance (for example, the Government updates on COVID-19 or new policies relating to dementia), so management is assured staff have the skills and knowledge to deliver the agreed high standards of care.
Significant savings made by reducing time on admin
Digital inspections completed via the Perfect Ward app save an estimated 55% of time compared with the previous pen and paper process.
May Prentice, Head of Operations at Silverline Care says, “We carry out 10 quality audits per month in each of our 12 homes. I estimate we save at least one hour per audit. That’s a time saving of 120 hours a month across the group in quality admin alone. A huge saving for us and time freed up to put back into caring for residents!”
Operating across a wide geography drives the need for great technology. Each of the 12 Silverline homes can demonstrate continuous improvement through automated reports for senior management, whilst providing evidence of compliance for the regulators; the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England and the Care Inspectorate in Scotland. May continued, “Previously we relied on paper and spreadsheets which constrained our ability to monitor our quality initiatives. Only one person at a time could access the results of audits and data was not always complete. We identified the need for greater efficiency, in particular fast and remote access to key data. We can now demonstrate our quality processes to those inside and outside the organisation.”
Sharing ways to achieve excellence – any time, any place
Perfect Ward gives the management team ‘real time’ visibility of quality standards, in each home and across the group. Putting data at their fingertips empowers the business leaders to make quicker, more informed decisions and to focus of the key areas as identified in the data.
May explains, “Perfect Ward gives us the opportunity to work collaboratively as a team to achieve excellence. We can spot issues that need to be addressed and put actions in place swiftly. The birds-eye view enables us to work better as a team, because we can benchmark in a constructive, positive way, and share best-practice and learning. We now have a true quality assurance system, one the leadership team can access, act on and celebrate our successes.”
Removing variation across homes and creating a positive culture for staff and residents
Silverline Care uses Perfect Ward to support a range of in-house audits. The quality standards for individual care homes are transparent for all to see across the group. This has been transformational, both in terms of quality improvement and the cultural impact. Quality inspections are no longer a chore, cloaked in secrecy. They are part of a professional work environment, where nurses and carers openly discuss ways to improve, the issues they face and training they need. The programme of rolling audits includes:
- Medicines management
- Infection Prevention Control (IPC)
- Environmental and cleaning
- Resident documentation
In addition, the progress of each resident’s electronic care plan is tracked, an intrinsic part of the organisation’s quality improvement programme.
Many of the features built into Perfect Ward are ideal for care homes. Perfect Ward provides Silverline with a clear audit trail of how they are meeting specific legal requirements of the CQC and Care Inspectorate, from hygiene standards to staff Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks and asking residents about their meals, to gain feedback on the great tasting and nutritionally balanced food served.
May commented, “It’s easy to track the responses from our residents and see how we are performing across the group instantly. We have monthly review meetings with operations, catering and the resident’s group to maintain high standards.”
Acting in an agile manner during COVID-19
Perfect Ward has proven to be a valuable strategic communications tool. During COVID-19 Silverline has used Perfect Ward to share the latest guidance with all staff, May explained, “Amid constantly changing Government guidelines, we were concerned staff might be confused or feel they didn’t have the most up-to-date information to deliver high quality care, confidently. With Perfect Ward we could communicate quickly as a team and discuss changes in guidance as they occurred. We also shared updates from the British Geriatric Society to establish and evidence understanding of clear guidelines for admitting and re-admitting residents. During the pandemic we faced staff shortages and our priorities changed quickly, however we are able to maintain our standards because staff used Perfect Ward.”
Driving benefits across the team
Silverline staff and managers all benefit May said, “Perfect Ward is an intuitive, visual tool. Our staff feel engaged at every level and enjoy completing an audit. The reports create a real-time evidenced based view of what is happening in each care home. Everything is documented, everyone can see the audit results and staff gain quick and meaningful feedback. This level of transparency is empowering and encourages staff to get involved to identify and share best-practice and then apply this to areas that need improvement.”
Looking to the future
Silverline Care is looking forward to developing a deeper working partnership concluded, “Perfect Ward is an intrinsic part of our quality and compliance programme. The team at Perfect Ward is extremely supportive and genuinely interested in driving our success. The next steps are to use:
- Action plans to close the loop
- Specific questions from the CQC and Scottish Care Inspectorate
- Data tagging for analysis of themes across all our audits
We are now working with evidence, not anecdotes. This is essential to demonstrating compliance with the different regulatory jurisdictions in England and Scotland. It also puts us well ahead of the curve when preparing for future inspections, the very basis for improved and integrated care.”