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Case Study

HarmonI

Harmoni is a supported living service on a 5 Acre site overlooking Belfast Lough. They support up to 44 tenants in 33 properties. They joined Care Control with the hope of improving their daily living plans (care plans) especially when it came to new staff and learning them. They also wanted to improve their rotas. Find out why they chose Care Control here.

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Who are HarmonI?

Vision

Improving quality of life through compassionate support and care.

Mission

Encouraging sustainable, independent living for people living with a disability or societal disadvantage.

Values

Organisationally
Open transparent, and professional in all matters.

Individually
Accountable for delivering a professional, person-centred appproach.

Encourage Clients
Personal aspirations with sensitive realism.

Ethos

People and Potential

Harmoni, first established in 1878, is an organisation dedicated to providing support for individuals living with disability or societal disadvantage. Our two services, Strickland’s Care Village and Utility Street Men’s Hostel, provide support to our clients to enable them to live independent and quality lives. We put the person at the heart of everything we do and work together with our clients to help meet their needs and aspirations.

I just literally love it. There is just so much time created because you’re not flicking through pages and pages of stuff to find what you need, you can go directly to it. And because everything is live, with falls and ABC charts and support that people need can be highlighted really quickly

Tell me about your services?

HarmonI is a supported living service on a 5 Acre site overlooking Belfast Lough, we provide services that come under the definition of disabled as the legislation quotes. We have a total of 58 staff and some agency staff, who support up to 44 tenants in 33 properties, we currently have 36 tenants. We have people living here who would have physical disabilities, learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues – we cover a whole range of disabilities. It’s quite a unique site in that we cover all aspects instead of focusing on just one specifically.

We provide two different types of services on-site. We have two areas that provide support on a 24hrs, 7 day a week basis, for individuals who would depend on the support due to the level of their needs and then we have another part of the service which is called mobile care and support. This is similar to a conventional Domiciliary Care service where people are living independently and we call in and out throughout the day to check on them for medications and basic care such as meal preparation and skills development.

“We liked care control as it was adaptable and fit the needs for both our services here at Strickland’s, meaning we could use the same software across each service.”

We have a range of different areas across our site for our tenants. We have recently renovated our outdoor space creating a sensory garden and picnic area which is fully wheelchair accessible. We also have an activities coordinator on-site who organises lots of events and activities for tenants including baking days, pamper days, walking groups and an art club. Our monthly newsletter – The Seaview News – which is created by our tenants provides another opportunity for tenants to get involved. It includes written poems, weather forecasts, recipes, games and notices on what is happening around the site.

The overall aim is to help tenants get active and involved in the social community here at Stricklands, however, with different needs and abilities it is important to offer a range of opportunities so all can get involved. This is something we are committed to and strive to do here at HarmonI.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

The variety, there are so many different personalities and needs to be met in one place and we cater to so many different people rather than operating in one niche area. From a manager’s perspective, I am very much about equipping people to be the best at what they do. It is really rewarding seeing people come to the site and discover their strengths. We have people come in and really embrace the art side of things and progress into art therapy – but they got their initial experience here and honed that craft on the side. I like the variety and skills we can develop in our staff team. Also, no two days are the same. We have had doors blown off in the wind and wheelchairs stuck in holes along the coastal path – you just can’t predict what will happen. Everything we do is completely tailored to the individuals we serve!

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What were the challenges you needed to solve before finding Care Control?

One of our biggest issues at the service was daily living plans – like care support plans within the properties. The daily living plans are our go to, an essential guide on how to do everything for each individual. These plans are very person-centred, factual and detailed, and as such it was quite overwhelming for new staff to read this for each tenant and remember it all – especially when two tenants were living in the same property with quite similar needs. Having the daily living plans stored on care control allowed for staff to revisit this when needed in an easily accessible way. In the past, when the plans needed to be updated it could take up to a month to turn each around. This was because any changes suggested by support staff would need to be passed over to the administrator who would update the plan and send it back, at which point some things could have changed again. Having these plans available to update on care control, therefore, streamlines this whole operation, saves time and also limits errors.

Another key challenge for us was concerning our staff rotas. Due to the different service types we provide, it can take a significant amount of time to schedule staff and pull together rotas. After personally using software in another job, I knew this would potentially cut down time on rescheduling and rostering.

However, the biggest part for us here at HarmonI which everyone has been so excited about is the checklists and tasks. Being able to allocate them to a particular property is just fantastic and ensures that every person we support gets exactly what they want, when and how they want it.

Lastly, we also have a number of people on site who struggle with their eyesight and one struggles with writing, so we were also looking for alternative solutions to help aid our staff.

What other solutions had you tried before moving to Care Control?

We investigated around 12 other software and solutions, from which we took five forward to look at in greater detail. We then formulated a list of the top 3 we felt would best suit our services. The biggest selling point for Care Control over the other two options was that it was compatible with tablets as well as mobile devices. As we had a grant for new tablets, it was important that whatever software we decided on was compatible with tablets. Most of the other options we looked at were only available on mobile or pocket devices and therefore would not fit our needs.

Additionally, the elements offered by Care Control compared to other options were beyond what we had expected – this really struck us when we visited another service in Northern Ireland who had been using Care Control for a while – we were blown away by how it worked in practice and this really sealed the deal for us.

How did you find out about Care Control?

We have a researcher, and she did an initial internet search for software packages. From here we then started to streamline down our options based on our needs.

How was your experience with our training and implementation team?

It has been amazing. Lizzie from sales was fantastic, her demonstration was very informative and her energy and enthusiasm were positively contagious. You could clearly tell she loves the software. Kerrie from the training sessions was also amazing and knew everything about the software. We asked her lots of awkward questions as our site is quite unique and differs from others and there were things she had never come across but there was always a prompt response from both Kerrie and the development team. So far there has never been a ‘no we can’t do that’, there has always been a workaround and the team have been extremely useful in coming up with solutions. It has almost always been perfect and workable -we didn’t find this with other software even at the investigation stage. Care Control has worked with us every step of the way!

What feature of Care Control has helped your care organisation most?

We are still in the early stages of our implementation journey. We have completed the background uploading of information and distributed the tablets into our tenants’ properties. The biggest ‘quick win’ we have had so far has been the checklists – the checklists are a complete game-changer for us.

Also, the ability to use care service groups to lock things down has been another key feature which has benefited us greatly. As we are using tablets instead of mobile devices – with a tablet being allocated to each property – we wanted to ensure only relevant staff members had access to relevant tenant information and the care service group feature allowed us to do this and ensure that data is only accessible to relevant staff members.

What are your top tips for those choosing to implement a digital records system?

Give yourself plenty of time for the initial population of the digital records system. It is important to get this as accurate as possible before you launch. We spent lots of time ensuring the information was accurate and up-to-date before sharing it with the staff team as we did not want to launch and staff to get a bad impression because we set it up incorrectly or the information was incomplete. With Care Control the more you go into it, the more you can do, which is another reason why it took longer than expected.

What do Staff think about Care Control?

We have a wide range of staff of all different ages and technical abilities, from technophobes to people embracing the whole change process. When discussing Care Control with one staff member in particular, it was clear the positive impact the software was having for both staff and clients, she expressed; “I just literally love it. There is just so much time created because you’re not flicking through pages and pages of stuff to find what you need, you can go directly to it. And because everything is live, with falls and ABC charts and support that people need can be highlighted really quickly.”

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