Greater Manchester

Digital care homes transformation

More than 130 care homes in Greater Manchester are now using an innovative digital symptom tracker to monitor COVID-19 and support the care and treatment of 4,000 residents.

There are 565 care homes in Greater Manchester with 40,000 residents. In a bid to reduce the instances of falls in care homes, Health Innovation Manchester partnered with North West SME Safe Steps to undertake a proof of value in Tameside and Bolton localities using a digital falls risk assessment tool. Safe Steps joined HInM’s digital accelerator programme and received expert support and funding to further develop its value proposition.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which posed a significant risk for care home staff and residents. The existing model of care was largely paper-based, not providing the opportunity to use technology and digital approaches to help manage the crisis.

HInM quickly pivoted its approach to work with health and care staff and Safe Steps to adapt the tool to support care homes staff to monitor and care for residents and report COVID-19 symptoms. The tool had to be easy to use for staff at the bedside, while also supporting primary and secondary care teams to monitor remotely.

In only a matter of weeks, a rapid proof of value undertaken in partnership with Tameside & Glossop locality to expand functionality of existing digital tool. Care home staff were already familiar with the falls assessment tool, and HInM developed a full deployment support package including clinical development, training, project management and communications.

The tool is now used on 136 care homes across GM, supporting staff to monitor 4000 residents. As a result of the information flagged to clinical teams via an integrated dashboard for all patients, 300,000 clinical assessments have been undertaken. The tool has more recently been further adapted to include RESTORE2 mini to spot signs of deterioration, as well as a COVID-19 vaccine tracker.

The approach taken has garnered national and international interest for adoption and spread, and HInM has brokered a commercial incentive model to ensure GM benefits from any further growth and development.

The Applied Research Collaborative, part of HInM, is undertaking a research study to evaluate the efficacy of the approach and inform lessons for future projects.

Dr Saif Ahmed, GP, Tameside & Glossop: “By empowering carers who know their residents best to use the tracker, we can easily identify patients who need advanced care planning by picking up signs of deterioration as soon as they start to happen.”

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