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How can a Digital Care Record contribute to providing culturally safe person-centred-care?

Digital technology is advancing at an ever-increasing rate across all industries and the care sector is no different, but there are many care settings that still use very traditional processes and tools. When providing person-centred-care, it is mandatory that carers document a service user’s needs and preferences to ensure they are receiving the appropriate treatment and support. Many care settings have moved away from traditional paper-based documentation over to digital care record systems. This blog is going to explore the pros and cons of going digital in record keeping and how it impacts person-centred-care, but also providing culturally safe care.

Ensuring service users are provided with good hygiene services is one of many imperative parts of delivering person-centred-care and should be supported in a way the person wants it. Washing, for example, can highlight certain cultural boundaries. Understanding the service users’ wishes to either need assistance with a headscarf or even use their own vegan products can enrich an appropriate care plan for that individual and can be logged in real-time on a digital care record for all members of the care team to deliver truly person-centred care, with all members of the care team having a sound understanding of what is considered culturally safe for that particular service user.

Another way of creating a culturally safe environment can be getting service users involved in different activities. Activities can open up and determine the service user’s confidence and triggers. Some activities can be deemed offensive or difficult for the service user to engage in but having a history of the service user’s past trauma on hand, could potentially allow activity co-ordinators to tailor certain activities to their needs to ensure the service user feels safe. Activities don’t always need to be physical but can involve something like decision making. Some service users may feel it to be inappropriate for others, such as family members, to make certain decisions on their treatment for them. It can make them feel powerless and potentially trigger challenging behaviour in the service user. Knowing a service users’ triggers to prevent any challenging behaviour is certainly something that needs to be logged and known to all members of the care team.

When we are talking about person-centred-care, how often do we think about the service users cultural and spiritual beliefs. Also, cultural and spiritual beliefs don’t only refer to a person’s ethnicity or religious beliefs, culture is intricate and complicated.

The cultural iceberg shows the diversity included in a person’s cultural values. It can be extremely important to understand as much as we can about a persons cultural and spiritual beliefs and values to provide person centred care and ‘cultural safety’ for all.
Cultural safety may be defined by, mannerisms or behaviours that others may view as antisocial but are an integral part of that persons core cultural values and spiritual beliefs and are important aspects of their ability to live a good life.
The proverb “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” is important to note though. As what one person deems as acceptable behaviour another may find inappropriate and offensive. This can impact on creating a culturally safe environment for everyone. Being aware of the varying perspectives of different service users as well as the cultural beliefs of staff that may impact on their perspectives to appropriate care and behaviour is a complicated maze of details. However, providing true person-centred-care should be taking all these points into consideration.

Let’s breakdown the benefits of a digital care record:
• Information is accessible and entered in real-time
• More information provided about the service user for the support worker ensures better and more specific person-centred-care
• Keeps a historical record of the service users’ needs for new staff turnover to get to know the service users needs to provide the care, without having to find out for themselves and ensure a positive relationship is being built from the start.
• There may be changes in the service user’s health, this can be captured in real-time as well and can be connected to the service user’s health record.
• Other technology, such as falls detection and prevention technology, can allow more independence for the service user

Trust and partnership are extremely important when trying to build a relationship between a service user and support worker. A Digital Care Record can give service providers a great opportunity to access this information around the care home using different devices to ensure the service users care plan can be viewed by different members of the care team then and there. This can be extremely beneficial to avoiding any errors and provides clarity. By having the correct and appropriate information and being able to access an entered in in real time, compared to paper record, can improve a care plan for service users. Other technology around homes such as, falls detection and prevention, can help service users feel safe and it gives support workers the piece of mind to fully support the service user’s independency, but still provide the same level of service and care.

As always, with technology, nothing is ever perfect. There can be glitches and sometimes systems crash. We’ve had a look at the benefits, but what could be potential cons to a digital care record:
• Service users lack of technological aptitude may be apprehensive and confusing with support workers being on the phone or on a tablet, as they may not understand why.
• On top of mandatory training care staff members already undergo, there will also need to be an implementation for extra adequate training for staff members to understand all components of the electronic system itself. Especially if different homes all use a different digital record system. This can be more time consuming.
• Loss of data if not secured properly could be a big issue as you will essentially be starting from scratch with that service user if the data is lost.

However, when providing the best care for service users, I would say using a digital care record gives support workers the best opportunity to improve on person-centred-care.

Do you think digital care recording is the way forward to providing better care and support?

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