SOFTWARE AS A SOLUTION TO RISK MANAGEMENT Residential aged care faces numerous challenges, not the least of which are tight budgets, a casualised workforce and skill shortages. When added to the demands on staff that the volume of mandatory documentation places, the potential clinical risk is high. Software that is customisable and alerts staff to potential risks is one way that aged care managers can more effectively manage risk.
DAMIEN MALONE BN, BA, MBA, M Nursing Facility manager/DON, SomerCare email@example.com
The aged care industry has had many challenges to face in recent times, including changes in funding putting additional strains on business models, an ageing workforce set in the background of skill shortages for new employees, increased casualisation of the workforce, and an agenda aimed at keeping people at home in the community longer. This means residential aged care is seeing an increase in dependency of new residents, shorter lengths of stay and increased resident turnover. Combined, this has had a significant effect on day-today workloads and has created challenges in the area of risk management for residential aged care facilities.
About the author
Risk management is an important consideration for any manager responsible for the provision of residential or community aged care services. Clinical risk can be defined as a situation in which an action or inaction on the part of an organisation results in a potential or actual adverse health effect on the consumers of a health service.
Damien Malone is facility manager and director of nursing at SomerCare, a 100-bed aged care resort on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. He is also a member of the Health Informatics Society of Australia’s aged care special interest group (SIG).
Whilst there will always be a requirement for the expertise of quality clinically skilled staff in assessing and managing clinical risk, it is important for organisations to look for creative ways to support the identification and management of risk.
Many aged care facilities have embraced electronic resident systems as a tool to improve quality of documentation and to support funding claims, but in my opinion there should be serious consideration given to the importance of clinical risk management features of any software purchase made in residential care. Facilities are collecting large amounts of data through personal information gathering, clinical assessments, observations, incident reporting and feedback systems. Reflecting workforce changes, this information is gathered by a variety of staff with significantly different skills and knowledge, which can affect timely interpretation and analysis of data. This creates a risk of “siloing” of information until auditing or review processes can identify links or make interpretations of information. This article will focus on some of the aspects of risk management provided by the SARAH residential software package, which we use to help manage risk within our organisation. Several other software packages also carry some of these features, so consult your vendor.
Risk management tools SARAH residential software is an allof-business software solution which
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