What problems were you trying to tackle in moving from a paper-based to a digital solution?
“The biggest problems we had were missed signatures on MAR charts, wrong medications administered, incomplete MAR charts and the time taken to perform our medicine audits. These were a headache for me as it’s quite difficult to manage all these things as there’s often not as much oversight as you’d like.”
What value does the system give you?
“I think one of the major things is the time saving part. Medicine rounds are much quicker for our nurses, and this allows them to focus more on caring for residents. Stock counts are also simple and pretty much automatic - before we used VCare, this was very time-consuming. Auditing is quicker as most of the information we need is already within the system.
I think in a general sense, the peace of mind I can have is really valuable. I can check on the care home remotely, even if I’m at home, or instantly knowing what’s happened during a round when I’m not in the home. I think the CQC understandably takes a hard line on any gaps in your medicine processes and we’re just happy that we can be sure that our records are completely in order and that we’re keeping our residents safe."
One of my worries before bringing on VCare is how we could create a digital mess with other systems we use not speaking to one another. I love how the system works with PCS (Person Centred Software) and our carers, as well as the rest of our staff, can see medicine information in the same place as care activities.
From a compliance and safety perspective, it’s easy to see mistakes on medicine deliveries as we order directly through the system, rather than by telephone. I can see in the portal if medicines have been ordered, checked-in and delivered. Seeing a comparison of the previous cycle versus the current one helps to double-check that no medicines have dropped off.
My favourite thing about the system is how I can see missed and refused medication on the dashboard and can click to see details immediately to investigate.”
How does it work with your pharmacy/GP for the re-ordering process or new prescription?
“We do all our re-orders on the VCare System and don’t need to pick up the phone to the pharmacy. Once reorders are in the system, we produce a single report of all the reorders which we then send to the GP. This report is performed for all residents at once, so there is no need to run a report for each resident individually. The pharmacy can also see all ordered medicines and will mark in the system when they have dispensed and sent for delivery. We then check-in the medicines and confirm whether or not we have received correct amounts. What we’ve found is that the pharmacy is happy as it gives them the ability to see what’s been ordered and both ourselves and the pharmacy have less phone calls to make.”
What challenges did you face during the integration phase?
“Like any new system, people had been doing things a certain way for many years and needed convincing that eMAR was the right choice. I think convincing experienced staff to change their ways can be difficult, especially as we brought on the system during the pandemic. I’d say that there’s never the perfect to bring on a system like this, you just need to put the work in at the beginning and then it won’t be long before you really start to feel all the benefits. VCare’s support team was great over those first couple of months and went the extra mile to help us get the best out the system from the beginning. “
How does it assist practically with stock take and re-ordering?
“In terms of re-ordering, the system tells us what medicines are assigned to a resident. The portal also shows me what our medicine stock levels are, so we can make a quick judgment on which medicines to re-order. One aspect I really like is how quick it is to re-order as all the information is already there. Once we have put in all our re-orders, the pharmacy automatically receives those re-orders on their system. The chance of a mix-up is hugely reduced as you’re both using the same information. Once the re-orders have been checked, with one click we can produce all re-order requests and send it to the GP.
“As for stock takes, we audit all stock on the system to check if we have correct amounts. If any stock goes low, then the system alerts me on the dashboard. Stock returns are done on the system which means we don’t need to write it on paper and our records are always up to date.”
How can a home manager make the most out of the system? How do you maintain oversight? How does the reporting assist you?
“I have found the key is to keep on top of the system and to make sure there are absolutely no missed meds showing up. This starts with me but also needs to be understood by everyone in the organisation. You need to run reports to see why medicines are delayed or refused so you’re always on top of what’s going on.
There are quite a few reports that we run through the VCare system. PRN medicine reports show me whether PRNs are being administered and if the correct reasons are being recorded on why the PRN are administered. Keeping track of PRN is really important for us to ensure we are looking after our residents in the best possible way. We also run the VCare reports when we are doing our audits. They’re quick to run and help us to quickly see what’s happened in the past and what’s going on now.”
How has your experience been generally dealing with VCare?
“I highly recommend working with VCare and we will continue to use the product. I think what we’ve really enjoyed is seeing how they keep on improving and adding new things to the product and dashboard. The VCare trainers are really responsive and whenever we’ve needed them, the Support team have also been great. All I can say is that the solution is exceeding expectations and has fully supported improved care and quality compliance in our organisation.”
Contact us to find out more about how the VCare eMAR system can improve medicine management for your care home or care home group.