Once you have completed your preparation activities and set a start date, it is time to begin the pilot. There are a series of activities that you should undertake in the week before your carers start to use the application, to ensure that the pilot starts well and then continues to run smoothly.
So, if you want your carers to start inputting data for the pilot on Monday 12th September, its best to perform the activities below during the week preceding this (Monday 5th - Friday 9th September).
Before all your carers start to use the application its best to create & setup the account so they hit the ground running. Setting up an account is fairly simple, it just requires time from someone who knows the residents and carers that will be participating. More often than not it is the manager or senior carer from the care home. To do this you require a computer, names and email addresses of the carers and the latest care plans of the residents that will be part of the pilot.
- Create your Account
- Create the Groups that will contain your residents
- Create the residents that are part of the pilot
- Invite the carers who will participate in the pilot
- Add the latest needs assessments for each resident (*optional)
- Ensure your carers have registered
* Needs assessments don't restrict the ability to capture timeline posts for residents. For this reason we say that inputting them are optional as part of your preparation. Some pilots have gradually added all the residents assessments over time, whilst others have it entered before the carers start using the application. The decision is yours.
Great! Now we are done with these activities, you are almost ready to start the pilot with your carers.
Your carers will need devices to input their timeline posts and track the wellbeing of the residents during the pilot. Our experience with running pilots has shown us that there is no need for these devices to be at the top end of the spectrum. Our application doesn't require a fast processor, lots of memory, or the latest hardware. We designed our application based on the requirements of care homes and we recognise that budget is important, therefore our software takes this into consideration.
A week or two before the pilot begins in earnest, order the devices you need for the pilot. We tend to recommend Amazon or equivalent company as they will have plenty of stock and the pricing will always be competitive. Use our guide below to help you make the right choices.
Carers prefer mobile devices. They are small enough to be put in a pocket during a shift, big enough for them to navigate our application and importantly they are used to using this technology in their private lives. We have found many carers say that they had no computer skills, but then proceeded to use a mobile device like a skilled expert. We want to reuse this unknown skill in the care setting.
Senior carers sometimes prefer a tablet. Its about 50:50. Some prefer a mobile, some a tablet. You will need to identify this for your own situation, but it is important to ask the question. For a pilot, and in the short term, it is fine to simply use a set of mobile devices. You could answer this question later on if you preferred.
Managers quite often use the computer they have in their office. Again it depends. Some very hands on managers like to carry a mobile device, so they can add posts just like the carers do. Some prefer to use a computer for the added real estate.
What to look for?
Which devices you want to use is completely up to you. Our application works on phone, tablet or computer - our only requirement being a modern web browser. We do have a few recommendations. For mobile phones, go for screen size over performance. We have trialled 3.5" - 6" phones and carers consistently prefer 5" and above screens. Don't worry about performance and specifications so much. Go for a durable, large screened device with a good battery.
Tablets are very similar. Don't go for performance or specifications. Go for screen size. We recommend 10" devices. Any smaller and you will find that people prefer the mobile devices, as they go in a pocket.
Number of Devices
Sharing a single device between carers on the same shift is not as productive as each carer on a shift having their own device. What works well is to have the same number of mobile devices as people on shift. Then add an additional device as a backup.
So how does this look? Lets say you have 15 carers, but only 4 on shift at the same time. We would recommend that you have 5x mobile devices. 4x for the shift and 1x spare. If they are all the same, you can interchange the chargers / cases etc. It is worth noting that our software is not very resource hungry, and we find that if fully charged, each device lasts a couple of days.
We have 3 recommendations for mobile devices that work well in a care home environment. There will be lots of great devices on the market, but we only recommend the ones we have actually used. They are all well priced, have good specs and large screens.
Our current favourite is the Moto G. This has a great screen size, is light, can be submersed in water for 30 mins and is very competitively priced (£120 - £150). The battery is also very good.
The tablet market is also full of good choices. However when it comes to large screen size, good battery life and a competitive price it is hard to beat the Lenovo A10 series of devices.
- Lenovo A10 (amazon link)
If you find a device that works well and is not on our list, let us know and we will add it to our recommendations.
The biggest surprise we have had on our whole journey, was on the first day of our first pilot. We went to the care home, with a full training programme prepared and expected the whole process of training 40 carers and the management to take a couple of days. We had done lots of preparation and were understandably nervous as we wanted to do a good job. Our assumption was that the carers didn't have great computer skills and would require a lot of hand holding.
We couldn't have been more wrong!
We ran a training session for 4 carers at 9am and after 5 minutes they got it. They showed their peers on shift and by 11am we had half the staff trained. We were redundant by lunchtime.
The revelation from this experience is that your carers have great latent computer skills. They might say that they don't know how to use a computer, but then use Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram like pro's. Our application uses the same user interface paradigms. The concept of a timeline and making posts really will be second nature to most of your staff. There will be some that require help, but you will find that the other carers support them through the process.
The training your staff will need, should be focussed on why you are moving to our application, how to login and how to make timeline posts for a resident. This will get them up and running very quickly. If you do this training the week before they are expected to start using the application, and then point them towards our guidance section, this is often enough to get going.
Remember they can also ask us questions using our support icon on the bottom right of our application. We can then support them and answer any issues that they might have.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. It really is that important. Your staff will be nervous and have fears (that are unfounded, but nevertheless real). Communication helps to reduce this and ensures a smooth path to all your carers involvement in the pilot.
Communicate in the way that works for your business, but try to ensure that the following are made clear:
- When they are expected to start using the application ("The pilot starts on 12th September at 8am")
- That there is training to support them ("Training is at 9am on the morning of Friday 9th September")
- That there is a guidance section for our application here
- KareInn are here to support them (and you) and they can directly contact us with their questions by using the chat / support functionality
- Finally, reinforce the rationale behind running the pilot, which residents are participating and what you are hoping to achieve
That's it! You're ready to get going with the pilot on a daily basis. Good luck. We're convinced you'll love using our application in the long run, and the pilot is a great way to help you determine this too.