Carer uses a tablet with an electronic care plan

Are electronic care plans the future of home care?

According to the Social Care Institute for Excellence, “care planning is a conversation between the person and healthcare professional about the impact their condition has on their life, and how they can be supported to best meet their health and wellbeing needs in a whole-life way.”

Care planning should be person-centred, focusing on the wants and needs of the individual and ensuring that they are included and empowered to make decisions regarding their care plan at every stage.

Download our free guide to outstanding home care

In this guide, we outline how our care management software will support your home care organisation in answering the 5 key questions and the key lines of enquiry of a CQC inspection and how our software has had a positive impact on our client’s CQC ratings.

Download our guide to 'Outstanding Home Care'

What is a care plan?

A care plan is a record that sets in stone all the ’moving parts’ discussed during care planning. It details a person’s choices and preferences, their agreed care package, and the actions expected from the care team.

Traditionally, care plans were handwritten documents, stored in folders at a client’s home to be viewed when needed. Now, care plans can be created as electronic care plans and stored in a digital environment (like a care management system) – to be accessed or updated instantly.

What are the benefits of electronic/digital care plans?

With the release of its interim guidance on what ‘good’ looks like for digital care records in 2020, the Care Quality Commission has shown its commitment to supporting providers’ use of care planning software, especially in regards to achieving ‘Outstanding’ in inspections. Here we explore some of the ways electronic care plans can help support good outcomes for people who use services.

No more handwritten documents

Whether it is a carer struggling to read someone else’s messy handwriting, or a medication spelling error that leads to a mistake – handwritten documents can open the doors to serious risks. Digital care plans provide a far more consistent and legible format for all – where mistakes can be mitigated.

Reduces the risks associated with physical documents

While physical care plans can be damaged or lost, electronic care plans can be safely and securely stored within a care planning system – usually on a cloud-based platform with countless backup protocols in place to protect the data from accidental incidents.

Instantly accessible and always available

When stored on a cloud-based platform, care plans that are created digitally are instantly accessible to the people who need to see them, when they need them. This means that any changes to care plans can be initiated immediately, and carers can provide the most responsive care possible.

Through our dedicated care app IQ:timecard, our Client/family portal, and special guest access for a CQC inspector – information can be shared quickly, accurately and safely to those that need it – instantly.

Easy to update and amend

A care plan should be reviewed regularly and changed to adapt to the evolving needs of each client. Digital care plans can be updated instantly and shared with all simultaneously. In contrast, paper care plans need to be rewritten/reprinted and replaced whenever a change is made.

Our version control protocols ensure that all changes to care plans are recorded and that only the latest care plan is being used.

Consistent formatting

In a digital system, standardised templates can be created to ensure that care managers follow a consistent and logical process when creating new care plans.

And while there’s no ‘right way’ of producing a care plan – features like drop-down boxes, consistent medication doses, along with the ability to copy data from existing records can help to minimise errors – digital care plans take considerably less time to produce.

Most providers have a preferred care plan template. At Unique IQ we will work with you to create a bespoke template that meets your requirements and reflects your businesses ethos.

Saves space and costs

Printing and storing physical documents can be a financial burden to a business. By eliminating conventional paper care plans, providers can save on paper and printing costs, and reduce the need for physical storage space like filing cabinets.

On rare occasions when printed documents are required (perhaps for an inspection), our software allows you to create pdf versions that can be easily printed.

Safe and secure

Care plans often contain sensitive details and personal data. By removing paper versions, you can be confident that clients’ data is not left lying around their home for anyone to read and is stored securely within the protection and compliance of a digital system.

Easy to find what you need

Need to find a particular record quickly? Instead of flipping through a filing cabinet digital records that are stored within a care management system are easily searchable by any data fields such as name, address, carer or region.

Fundamentally paper and digital care plans serve the same purpose – to provide the best outcomes for those receiving care. Technology on its own cannot improve care, but it can facilitate the better use of resources across the health and care system, allowing providers to spend more time caring. Electronic care plans form just part of the care planning process.

With care planning systems like IQ:careplanner and IQ:timecard – homecare providers can acquire the digital tools to provide the best care possible.

Want to know more about technology and the CQC? Read our comprehensive blog series here.