Remote monitoring was introduced as part of the NHS response to COVID 19. Remote monitoring uses digital technology in care homes to support care home residents to receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place.
Commonly known as ‘Doc in a Box’ the technology enables care home staff to record residents’ vital signs via Bluetooth devices and observation, to help them recognise changes in health and wellbeing and know what to do next. The devices calculate a NEWS2 score (removing the need for a manual calculation) and then trigger alerts for escalations if required. If a deterioration in health or wellbeing is detected, care staff can use the local escalation plan, as well as the resident’s personal treatment plans, to put the required support in place for the resident.
All systems can capture and collate residents’ data into a central digital dashboard for easy viewing by healthcare specialists. Authorised healthcare professionals can log in ‘remotely’ to review residents’ conditions and trends in key health functions such as respiration rate, oxygen saturation, temperature, blood pressure and heart rate.
Remotely monitoring residents allows healthcare professionals to provide tailored care advice when they are not in the home, for example, by prioritising a visit to the home, increasing the frequency of monitoring or requesting a review of medication.
Remote monitoring is available to any CQC registered care home in SWL (digital readiness permitting). The remote monitoring kit and licence is currently provided free of charge for the first 12 months, and full system support is available from the supplier. There are plans for further enhancement to the kit with the addition of other Bluetooth-enabled equipment over the course of next year. Clinical digital educators are available to visit care homes and support staff training and embedding of the kit.
Remote Monitoring Impact
Please read what some of our care homes, GPs and care home teams have to say about remote monitoring and the positive impact it has had.
“Now I know physical health vital signs are not being missed. VCare (the digital remote monitoring system) tells me when observations were taken and at what time. Plus, because the tool automatically calculates NEWS2 scores, it eradicates errors that could arise when calculating NEWS2 scores manually, meaning staff get time back to focus on their clinical duties.”
“Covid-19 made it even more challenging to see a GP. Liaising via email and telephone quite regularly was extremely time-consuming. Comparatively, using VCare has cut down the delay in a patient receiving care as it reduced the time staff spent phoning and emailing.”
“Care home managers and staff members reported that introduction of remote monitoring devices improved staff confidence in handling clinical data as the VCare device automatically calculates, uploads, and stores NEWS2 scores onto the digital portal.”
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