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​An innovation has helped improve safety for Home Care clients and aides in rural areas.

Saskatoon Health Region's Home Care Services in Humboldt has changed how their Continuing Care Aides (CCAs) receive schedules and care plans for clients, making service more efficient and client-friendly.

Previously, staff had to come into the office every Friday to pick up paper schedules, which listed all their clients for the upcoming week. The CCAs would carry these schedules with them as they went about their duties, getting each client to hand-sign for their service. At the end of the week, staff would hand in their papers, so the Home Care office could verify their visits and pay them accordingly.

Now CCAs get their schedules electronically on their phone through Procura Mobile, meaning they no longer have to make a trip into the office to pick up their schedules. Also, the client no longer has to sign at the end of their service. Instead, the visit is verified on the employee's phone shortly after the visit has been completed.

"This new system is just so much better, for both our clients and our staff," says Sherry Gursky, manager of Humboldt Home Care. "It addresses a host of issues for us."

 Humboldt Home Care CCAs demonstrate the use of their new phones. From left:  Debbie Winters, Michelle Kimmen, Lorna Albers

The paperless system eliminates any concerns surrounding privacy protection and infection control.

"When we had clients sign the schedules, we used privacy covers which leave only a small area open on the page, for the current client's signature," Gursky explains, "but sometimes the covers made it difficult for the client to sign. Now, as they don't have to sign, there's no risk at all of them seeing who else might be receiving a service. There's also no risk of infections being spread, as all the clients on a schedule aren't touching the same paper."

A huge advantage of the phones is that the Home Care office in Humboldt can track the location of all staff even as they visit clients in the most remote areas of the Health Region.

"This has greatly improved the safety of our staff," says Gursky. "Through the check-in system on the phones, we can know that everyone is okay, that they're not stuck in a ditch in the middle of nowhere while on their way to visit a client."

With the old system, staff would only check in with the main office when they started their shift. For the rest of the day, it was assumed everything was going well unless they heard otherwise.

"We had no way of knowing if our CCAs made it all the way through the shift, or even between each client," Gursky says. "Now, in real time, we can see they are moving along, and that things are on schedule throughout the day. And if they're not on schedule, we get an alert and can intervene appropriately."

The reports created by this system also show the amount of time spent with each client, so it's easier to schedule patients according to their needs.

"When staff are telling us that they need more time or that they don't need as much time we can see that and adjust our schedule accordingly," Gursky says. "This is both a time-saving measure and cost-saving measure, but most importantly, it ensures that our clients are receiving the care that they require."

The phones were initially rolled out on a trial basis to some of the rural areas in the Region, but now have been rolled out to all.

"There was some apprehension among some of our staff about switching to this system, but others were excited about it," Gursky says. "We did a lot of pre-planning work with the CCAs prior to getting the phones, and when we received them, we were very strategic in how we implemented.  It went very well and some of the CCAs that thought they would struggle did absolutely amazing.  I don't think they would give these phones back for the life of them."

Last Modified: Thursday, December 8, 2016 |
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