“It is a sociological phenomenon that the

better you get to know the relatives of the

resident, the greater the rapport and a higher standard of care.”

care. Ultimately, remote patient monitoring/managing is only achievable when you have the instant ability to access residents’ vital signs.

The mainstream media narrative around COVID-related deaths in care homes became one of cruel bureaucrats, politicians, and managers callously abandoning care home residents from preventable deaths, and knowingly sacrificing residents to ‘protect’ acute hospital beds.

According to research, hospitals are guilty of deliberately sending back residents to care homes without a COVID-19 test or even aſter positive ones. Moreover, discharges from hospitals back to care homes increased year on year during a critical period in March 2020, despite claims from the Government and NHS Providers that discharge numbers from hospitals to care homes had been much lower in previous years.

Through the implementation of innovative technology, this could have been avoided entirely as such soſtware has the ability to enable residents to arrange a video consultation with a doctor within a very short period, which is critically important and a huge time-saving opportunity for the care home. Moreover, digital care technology can provide an early intervention and is shown to drive huge increases in satisfaction from friends and family. An increase in the quality of care and CQC ratings will naturally follow these improvements.

Indeed, part of the focus on implementing escalation plans was to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Still, part of the problem was the focus on more ambulatory emergency care, and close collaboration with community health services to enhance support and speed.

And as a result, care homes have struggled immensely throughout the pandemic to obtain basic assistance and equipment. Caregivers have struggled to find PPE and testing supplies. Meanwhile, staff shortages have made it difficult to execute infection control policies.

An article in The New York Times suggested that many coronavirus deaths in American care homes could have been

prevented had their government stepped in and ensured that social care facilities had the same level of support as hospitals.

Such was an outcome that Ernie Connects saw from afar and decided to act upon in the UK. Unfortunately, despite reaching out to 28 Government departments and offering Ernie soſtware for free, nobody decided to come back.

This is despite findings from pre-and-post satisfaction studies in the United States amongst carers and care home staff showing a measurable increase in staff retention and efficiency, as well as much lower agency staff usage.

It’s obvious that the ability of the carer to relate on a visual and personal basis with the resident’s family and friends encourages social ‘stickiness’. As a result, this facilitates a much stronger interpersonal bond if all parties can be involved in the dialogue of the resident’s care journey, resulting in greater levels of satisfaction and less commoditisation of the resident. It is a sociological phenomenon that the better you get to know the relatives of the resident, the greater the rapport and a higher standard of care.

Fully transparent digital care plans can be accessed by all parties to recommend improvements, provide audibility and assist in the management and care of the resident.

Of course, this pandemic is still far from over. In the UK, reports state that we’re still seeing new COVID-19 cases surge with over 20,000 new cases daily, while deaths remain at about 89 a day. Also, the rapid spread of new variants, in particular the B117 variant, demonstrates that the virus isn’t going away anytime soon.

It becomes clear, then, that if we, as a sector, are serious about reducing the rate of further mortality, while simultaneously striving to promote healthier, happier lives for residents, then we must look towards championing human connection through smart technology. - 21 -

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