The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it and organisations across all sectors are having to adapt, finding new ways to deliver services whilst ensuring staff and customer safety. For those working in the care sector, the current situation has highlighted long standing issues driving the need for change forward. It is imperative the sector remains resilient at a time when the public needs high-quality nursing and care to vulnerable people more than ever.
The adult social care sector has long struggled to attract and retain staff with traditionally low wages and stressful working conditions often leaving carers feeling undervalued and demotivated. Lengthy paperwork and long-winded procedures continue to do little to inspire staff. The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England report published in 2019, estimated there were around 122,000 vacant positions and a turnover rate of more than 30%. Fragility within the sector is very disruptive to the delivery of care services and the current pandemic adds further pressure highlighting the issues workers face more than ever. For care teams, recent social distancing measures have made mobile care provision and home visits extremely challenging. Limitations around face to face interactions with colleagues and patients does little to support communication, emphasising the need for alternative strategies and greater digitisation.
Care England’s 2019 Manifesto highlighted the need for increased technology adoption and it is essential this commitment is fulfilled particularly in light of the additional challenges the pandemic is bringing to the nation’s carers. By adopting modern technology approaches, care providers will not only have access to the tools required to enable them to deliver improved services to patients, it will also improve carers’ working conditions by driving collaboration and increasing workforce confidence. Healthcare workers can really benefit from technology that automates time consuming procedures, removes the need for paperwork and enhances communication.
For the community care setting, new technology solutions such as job management software can be particularly helpful. This type of software enables teams to access all the information they need about their appointments in real time via a mobile device. Technology can therefore enable mobile care teams to stay better connected with their colleagues whilst maximising efficiencies through always placing an appropriately qualified carer at the appointment, who is geographically located as close to the patient’s address as possible to reduce inefficient travel time. An additional benefit of this type of software is that the technology automatically generates a complete audit trail of the appointments carried out which provides a high level of reassurance from a record keeping and compliance perspective.
By its very nature, the care sector is people centric with carers providing a vital lifeline for some of the most vulnerable members of society. By incorporating innovative technologies into the service delivery, carers workloads can be eased by improved process efficiencies being realised. This not only makes for a more fulfilling caring role; it ultimately allows carers to deliver a better level of patient care.
Although lockdown measures are easing, the threat from coronavirus remains very real, particularly for individuals in the care system. Social connection is crucial in helping care teams and those that they care for feel safe and connected; technology makes this possible. Indeed, the added pressure of adhering to covid-19 health & safety guidance is making it essential for organisations across all sectors to accelerate digitisation strategies that can be easily adapted to changing working environments. The care sector is no different and the time has come for the sector to embrace digital transformation.
The Coronavirus pandemic has sent shockwaves throughout the world however as we pass the peak and cases begin to fall, key worker organisations must not renege on commitments to support vital service personnel. Technology improves care teams overall working conditions, empowering workers to deliver the most effective and accurate service to patients and must surely play a pivotal role in future strategies.
Oneserve has created, “Oneserve Community” a free solution for key workers. It helps job planning for organisations or groups managing key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is simple, easy to use software that helps you schedule and complete essential work without the need for paperwork, emails or phone calls. More here: https://www.oneserve.co.uk/oneserve-community/