More information means better support for Age Residential Care residents

Staff working in aged residential care facilities across the South Island are finding it easier to make informed decisions about their residents’ care with newly granted access to Health Connect South / HealthOne.

CCN’s Shared Care Planning team, the South Island Alliance and the Health Connect South (HCS) / HealthOne (H1) teams are leading the roll-out to provide key staff at ARC facilities with access to their residents’ shared electronic health record and comprehensive training.

This ensures ARC staff have access to up-to-date information including lab results, transfer of care letters, outpatient appointments, and shared care plans to aid with planning and managing their residents’ care.

Val Whatley, Clinical Manager at Elmswood Retirement Village, says access to additional information in real-time is already making a significant impact for residents and staff.

“There have been several scenarios in the last month where we have been able to make a real difference for our patients because we’ve had quick access to information it would previously have taken us a while to get hold of,” said Val.

“This is particularly evident when patients are discharged from hospital back to one of our facilities. Recently we had a resident discharged back to our care quite late in the day, without instructions about the care for their chronic, long-term wound. The geriatric nurse specialist (GNS) involved in this resident’s care was able to talk us through where we could find the information we needed, and we found information which helped us decide what care to deliver next.”

Val says the process around residents being discharged from hospital is now much more streamlined. “Previously we had to follow up with the GNS or the discharge summary team at the hospital, but now we can access records, see what they are doing, when they are doing it, it is much quicker and means we can prepare what the resident needs before they arrive back into our care.”

Another success story came through one of the weekly GP-led clinics at the village when access to the up-to-date information helped the team understand and plan investigations. “It was the first clinic since we were given access and we were able to look at one of our resident’s previous bloodwork. Having access to the results meant we could decide to alter the blood tests taken in our clinic so we did not have to repeat tests and could explore a different avenue,” added Val.

Shared Care Planning Programme Lead and Product Manager Rebecca Muir says the rollout has vast benefits for the wider system. “Having access to their resident’s health record can assist in informing care decisions, which can lead to reducing unnecessary or inappropriate treatments and hospital transfers. It also means ARC staff can view, create and review their residents’ Shared Care Plans, including Advance Care Plans, Shared Goals of Care and Acute Plans.”

This is the next step for Val and the team at Elmswood Retirement Village, who plan on developing Acute Plans outlining the approach to care for several residents who have catheters, saving them unnecessary trips to the Emergency Department.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has committed funding for the initial HCS/ H1 connection for up to ten staff per ARC facility, as part of the COVID-19 response. There are now 102 ARC facilities across the South Island that have access and training for HCS/ H1. The roll out to the rest of the facilities is expected to be complete by September 2022.

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