How did you start using VCare’s eMAR?
“We actually moved pretty quickly and started after a one-month trial in one of our homes. A few weeks into the trial, I could see this was something that the organisation and our homes would benefit from, and we decided that we’d be moving all our homes onto the system soon.
The original trial was towards the end of last year when there was lots of uncertainty around Covid. Linked to that, there was probably more challenges than expected with rolling-out eMAR. For a start, our homes couldn’t receive training in-person and had to have it done remotely. We had a choice to allow remote training or to delay the move onto eMAR until a time when VCare’s trainers could physically come into our homes to deliver face-to-face training. But we didn’t have a clue when there would next be visitors in care homes and so we took a call as an organisation to move ahead with VCare.
From that point of view, VCare’s trainers completely exceeded our team’s expectations. We weren’t sure how remote training would work, especially as some staff were already nervous about using a digital system. But VCare’s Support and Training teams were extremely helpful whenever there were any questions and it didn’t matter what time of day or night, they were there to help. Those first couple of homes took to the system so well that it gave us momentum to bring eMAR into more of our homes quite quickly."
Why did you select VCare as your eMAR supplier?
“It feels a while ago now so sorry if I can’t remember everything but what struck me at the time was how easy the app was to use when we saw the demo. When bringing on this type of technology, you need staff to pick it up quickly and VCare have managed to strip it down to a really simple app that people can just pick up and use. Not only that, but the app works everywhere in the home and even has an offline mode if the internet connection’s lost at any point. We absolutely can’t risk medicine administration not being recorded because of an internet issue.
I think another thing that convinced us to select VCare, as I must admit we looked at a few different eMARs, was the fact that the system’s been created by a pharmacist who has really not left any stone unturned when it comes to detail. From managing interims to our PRN protocols, it’s all in there and all I can say is that we are really happy with it.
As a business manager, I look after various homes in the Group. The ability to see missed meds in those homes wherever I am, in just one place, is so valuable for me and the wider Carebase team. When we looked other systems, we would need to log into each and every home to see what was going on with medicine adherence and that’s almost a job in itself.
The last thing I’d say is that we wanted a flexible system. Some of our homes use blister packs and some are on original pack medication. The fact that VCare’s system allows us to use any of these different methods is really helpful as the last thing we want to do is to move a home away from a particular method just because a system requires it.”
What were your concerns prior to moving to eMAR?
“The biggest concern was that staff wouldn’t get on with the system and that it would add a lot of time to medicine management activities. It’s a big leap of faith moving to a new system, and we’ve all had our fingers burnt when we’ve been promised the world and when you actually get to use the product, it doesn’t work as it did on the demo. Fortunately, we’ve had a really good experience with VCare who’ve absolutely delivered on their promises and our staff would never go back to recording medicine administration on paper now which is great to see. On the time-saving side of things, I wasn’t sure how long it would take to log each action and for a manager / senior nurse to manage medicine check-in and stock levels. But, once you have the system set-up with all medication linked to a resident, there’s lots of time-savings in the re-ordering and management of stock levels.
There are lots of unknowns when you start working with a new company, people can promise 24-hour support and there’s no-one there when you call. Thankfully, this hasn’t been the case and all I can say is our dealings with the VCare team has been really positive and we’ve built up a strong relationship right from the beginning. Whenever we’ve got a question, VCare’s Support Team are always available to help with anything that comes up.
I can remember when I was initially speaking with Jill (VCare Relationship Manager) she said, “I’m an older person and I can use our eMAR and I’m not a computer whizz, but even I can do a medication round.” Speaking with someone who’s been working with care homes for many years that understood our concerns made me confident that we would be able to make the jump.”
How have you found working with VCare?
“As you can probably tell, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with VCare. They’re always improving the system and have been great with communication. I think what’s important though is that we’ve embraced moving to eMAR, as an organisation. You do need to change how you work with your pharmacy and how medicine is administered, it’s not a silver bullet that will automatically make your medicine management processes perfect. But ultimately, we’ve found VCare to be really responsive.
Their support team are fantastic and are always checking in to see how we are getting on.”
Has it helped to improve your medicine management?
“In short, yes 100%. There’s now oversight of everything and we’re on top of medicine compliance to make sure that medicines are never missed. Online re-ordering is also so simple for staff, who can send requests directly to a pharmacy and GPs too. This has been a real time-saver for our homes and having the ability to see when a pharmacy has received a prescription saves a phone call, particularly for interims. Our staff just know what’s going on when it comes to managing the medication of our residents. Another aspect that’s improved our medicine management has been on the stock management side of things as the eMAR system automatically counts down the stock which saves us lots of time. It’s also one less thing to worry about as you can clearly see if a medicine needs re-ordering and is running out. The link to the pharmacy is really important as if we add a resident, the pharmacy is aware immediately and that our homes and their regular pharmacy are always on the same page.”
How does it help you?
“I’m a trained nurse and there’s so much information that you glean through the system, with lots of nuggets that can help you to go the extra mile in terms of the level of care you can give to residents. As an example, there may be a resident who refuses medication due to swallowing or other issues and this can be fed back to the GP or I can give some feedback to the home to keep an eye on a particular recurring issue. The ability to instantly generate a report on missed and refused medicines over any given period also shouldn’t be overlooked.
From my perspective, the medicine audits are also so much easier to carry out and we can be much more detailed with our audits, with all medicine information now logged in the eMAR system.
In a general sense, I have complete oversight for the homes that I’m responsible for which is really useful. Other business managers can also be assigned to see the information relating to the homes that they represent, so we can all feel confident that we are on top of our medicine processes. This is really helpful for Groups like ourselves as there are more people involved than just the care home manager and senior nurse and with a support system in place we can see immediately, if there are ever any issues.”
Contact us to find out more about how the VCare eMAR system can improve medicine management for your care home or care home group.