Smartphone tech transforms home care in Liverpool
Liverpool is leading the way in the use of smartphone technology to deliver and monitor care in people’s homes. The city is the first to introduce a digital system with almost all domiciliary care providers – giving instant information about 9,000 vulnerable residents to their families and professionals.
The use of an app allows care providers and families to see when a visit is carried out by a carer, for how long – and how the person responded.
The effect is better informed families and care managers – and improved care.
Liverpool is the only authority in Europe to be using the technology across the city, with all but one of its 18 domiciliary care providers using everyLIFE PASSsystem. It was made possible through a grant of €1m of European Union funding secured through the EU STOPandGO programme of which the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast was a key partner.
The first company in Liverpool to use the system was Homecarers (Liverpool) Limited, which employs 300 staff and cares for 600 - 700 clients.
Their previous system relied on completing, collecting and processing assessment paperwork and medication records manually. Paperwork couldn’t be processed until it was returned to the office, sometimes a day or more after the visit – which could be critical if there were changes to medication or care plan tasks during this time. Completing and reviewing paperwork also took up care workers’ time during visits, which typically last for half an hour.
Working with the Innovation Agency, Liverpool City Council received €1m from a European STOPandGO programme for the use of innovative technology to improve the quality of domiciliary care.
The STOPandGO partners held a brokerage event facilitated by the Innovation Agency to introduce domiciliary care suppliers in Liverpool to a wide range of Technology Enabled Care Services (TECS) providers. The aim was to involve TECS in domiciliary care services in the city for the benefit of carers and the people they care for.
The everyLIFE PASSsystem was introduced to care suppliers during the event, resulting in the adoption of the PASSsystem, piloted by Homecarers (Liverpool) Limited.
Impacts & Benefits
The PASSsystem is now used by all but one of 18 homecare providers in Liverpool.
The everyLIFE PASSsystem gives carers instant access to a patient’s care plan via their smartphones, allowing them to easily familiarise themselves with the personal needs of a client before they visit. The app also provides carers with a checklist of tasks which need to be undertaken during the visit, including medication assistance. On completion of a visit the carer’s notes, which are inputted via their smartphone, are immediately uploaded to the care management system and viewable by homecare managers and clients’ families.
All domiciliary care companies commissioned by the Council are inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and ratings have improved for those who have been inspected since the introduction of the PASSsystem.
When Homecarers (Liverpool) Limited, who piloted the system in Liverpool, were inspected by the CQC in 2017 they were graded ‘Good’ in all areas. CQC were especially impressed with the PASSsystem, commending it for being more transparent and improving patient safety.
Susan Brown, whose mother Beatrice is a home care patient in Liverpool, said:
"I use the openPASS daily. It gives me peace of mind as I can see instantly that mum is up, washed and dressed, has eaten her breakfast and taken her medication. I also know that she's had a chat with her carer and all is well. I can check the openPASS easily anytime, anywhere - I'm a big fan!"
Liverpool City Council Commissioning and Contract Manager Ann Williams said:
“We know the technology is benefitting our most vulnerable residents; no longer do we find out late in the day that a carer was unable to visit or a resident wasn’t taking medication. We know immediately and then we can take action – and the family is reassured that the right care is being provided.”
Karen Caffrey of Homecarers (Liverpool) Limited said:
“The PASSsystem has given us a detailed, more accessible care plan that prompts the carer to make it more person centred. We’ve reduced the time carers spend assessing people, allowing them more time with the patient during their visit. Carers now have access to much more information about the client via their smartphones. Care plans can be changed as and when the patient’s needs change. It’s made an amazing difference in terms of efficiencies for our service and quality of care.”
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