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Service provider feedback and IT
A major provider of care and nursing homes has begun to provide each location with iPads for the service users. These are pre-programmed with questionnaires, and space for individual comments. They allow people and their visitors to give immediate feedback which is transmitted immediately to the manager and to the area management.
This is a useful aid to obtaining feedback and bringing about changes which people using the service want. It also shows that the service is interested in people's views directly. It avoids filtering through inspections, individual manager's opinions, or the delay in processing many paper copies of questionnaires, and devising overall action plans.
The service provider has already noticed changes and improvements in how they respond to people's comments. The keynote appears to be immediate response to getting issues sorted.
Internet access for all service users
I believe this kind of IT development should increase in the future. People newly being cared for will have more and more experience and confidence in using computers and their software. In fact, perhaps homes need to ready themselves for service users who wish to use their own tablets, smartphones etc to communicate. This would involve pro-actively setting up special social media addresses perhaps, or blogs to which residents can contribute. People may find it easier to comment if they see other people have the same opinion as them, as many people are reluctant to stand out from the crowd.
There is also the need to remember, and include the other, traditional ways of getting feedback. When I began to work in care homes, there was a 'Matron's round' each morning (even though it wasn't a nursing home !). The matron/manager was very receptive and spoke to each person, and was sure to uncover any issues, individual or general which might arise, and put them right very quickly. Another form of feedback I recollect was the cook daily having chats with people, more formal meetings on a weekly basis, to gain feedback on the meals and to introduce change as required.
There is a possibility of being dazzled by new technology and software methods, when there is nothing like face to face communication with a manager and staff whom you see daily and who have gained your trust.
Posting a questionnaire response on the intranet is perhaps a step too far, at least at this stage of IT familiarity and confidence for the elderly we serve.
Tony Clarke – QCS Expert Scottish Care Contributor