Outbreaks of common infectious diseases like colds, the flu, and gastro occur frequently in the general community, but the spread of infection in an aged care setting can have devastating consequences.
While aged care facilities are generally well prepared to deal with isolated incidents of disease, preventing an outbreak hinges upon having staff who are well educated in infection control procedures and management having a thorough understanding of who is walking through their doors.
On any given day, a vast array of family visitors and contractors can enter an aged care facility.
This constantly changing dynamic looms as a serious risk to the spread of the infection, and information regarding the specific details of these visits are often poorly documented and sometimes nonexistent.
The benefits of electronic record keeping have been clearly demonstrated across a multitude of industries around the globe, but unfortunately, new technology is not something that the Australian aged care sector has been quick to embrace.
Paper-based record keeping and workplace management processes are still commonplace in Australia, and with that, comes a level of inaccuracy and inefficiency that would be unfathomable for most professional organizations in 2020.
As a former Chair of Board for Baptists Care SA, Tim Johnson has a thorough understanding of the ways in which clear and concise information allows aged care providers to better manage risk at their individual facilities.
And now, as the owner and director of Rapid Global, Mr. Johnson has used that experience to develop a workforce management software that equips providers and staff with access to detailed information that increases safety and streamlines the accreditation process.
“The more you know about your facilities, the better equipped you are to deal with issues that can arise,” said Mr. Johnson.
“Communication and understanding are key to formulating an adequate response to any situations that pose a risk to the wellbeing of residents, but unfortunately, a number of providers still have information black-spots.”
There are a number of useful tools within Rapid Global’s full suite of workplace management options that can streamline the way an organisation manages its visitors and contracting companies’ compliance and reports incidents in the workplace.
Important information regarding flu vaccination and employee education can also be digitised and readily available for staff who deal with visitors.
One of the most sought after tools is the Rapid Access software which allows providers to better safeguard and control the contractor and visitor sign-in process.
This software has multiple sign-in options ranging from the scanning of QR codes and swiping of ID cards through to touch screen terminals which can be viewed on any web-enabled device.
All records are visible in real-time, giving staff the ability to understand if a visitor has documented proof of their flu vaccination or if a contractor has undergone training and also has insurance.
The Rapid Access app also gives a facility’s fire warden the ability to ensure nobody is left onsite in the case of an evacuation.
“Having instant access to information regarding everyone on your site prevents unauthorised persons from entering while giving organisations a real-time snapshot of what is happening across multiple sites,” said Tim.
“This also gives management the ability to truly understand if issues that arise are isolated or part of a trend. In the event of an outbreak, clear and detailed sign-in and sign-out information can enhance a provider’s ability to contract trace which can help to stop the spread of infection.”
“We also have a customisable e-learning software called Rapid Induct which allows aged care providers to induct and train employees remotely to ensure that they fully understand their obligations from a health and safety standpoint.”
When a crisis occurs in a facility, those operating on the ground seek guidance from management as to how to appropriately respond.
The segmented and unstructured nature of record-keeping in many aged care homes can make it difficult for those overseeing operations to get a true understanding of what is happening and what is required.
This can result in managers having to rely on facility administrators and consultants for guidance which can be inefficient and highly risky given the fragility of many residents.
“Lives are at stake and so are reputations,” said Mr. Johnson
“Anyone managing any aspect of an aged care home is a risk manager. They need access to all important information for themselves and for when accreditors come knocking.”
“Important decisions are being made on a continual basis in residential aged care homes, the people in these roles deserve to have the ability to make their choices with the backing of tangible evidence.”
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Photo Credit – iStock – CasarsaGuru