Infection control is more important now than ever before. We held a webinar with Scott Finnigan, General Manager at Thistle Healthcare, to share his experience of digitalising infection control processes. One of our quality and compliance specialists, Garry Pettit, hosted the webinar so we caught up with him to find out what was discussed.
Who is Thistle Healthcare?
Thistle Healthcare Group are a family owned business with 10 care homes. They provide care solutions for older people at all stages in their life, and strive to achieve the best possible outcomes for each individual resident. They are based in Central Scotland.
What did Scott say their infection control processes were?
At the start of the pandemic, Thistle had to quickly review their processes and checks around infection control. They implemented new COVID specific audits and checks such as hand washing and PPE. They also checked the temperatures of essential visitors to the service, as well as holding an outdoor visiting procedure.
Thistle hold several different reviews:
- A weekly review is sent to Scott and ensures they are delivering the required support, whilst being compliant with guidance. They also allow the Group to share good practice between homes.
- A monthly operations review is a second check of the weekly review, but focusses on preventing an outbreak in the home.
- A quarterly mock care quality inspection is carried out in each home which follows the same process that a Care Inspectorate carries out.
- Bi-weekly random observations also take place. Management observe practise and staff to ensure things like PPE is worn correctly, social distancing is encouraged, and everything is in line with government guidance.
How did Radar help at the start?
We contacted Thistle at the start of the outbreak asking how we can help and what we can take off their shoulders in this difficult time.
Scott said that this was really useful because like many care homes, they experienced a couple of outbreaks. He said “It was comforting to know I had the support of Radar to help us change our processes and procedures. Implementing relevant changes quickly meant that everyone was using a standardised approach and nobody was missing any points.”
What particularly impressed you with the way Thistle are utilising Radar?
Thistle made great use of the notice function on Radar to communicate changes. They sent guidance or internal process changes to their staff and could monitor who had or hadn’t read these notifications.
Using technology to standardise processes meant that Thistle could continually evaluate what they were doing and ensure that all information gathered was meaningful. They used the analytics and reports features to evidence why changes were needed or what processes they needed to keep because they could see they were working well.
What especially impressed me was how Thistle responded to the new Care Inspectorate key question around the care and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. This key question is made up of 3 areas:
- Health and wellbeing
- Infection control practises, processes and procedures
- Staffing arrangement and responsiveness
Thistle were able to evidence infection control checks via Radar, and if there was something that wasn’t quite right, they could show the actions they’ve taken and follow them up. They also captured individual staff’s performance to ensure everyone was following the guidance.
I liked that Thistle developed their audits specifically around the Care Inspectorate’s key questions and guidance. They used Radar to monitor infections, whether COVID related or not, along with details such as medical intervention or updates sent to family.
Thistle use their evidence on Radar as part of their catch ups with their Care Inspectorate Relationship Manager. They can provide a very detailed response on every service they provide as well as from an overall group perspective. This gives external reassurance that their responses are robust. I, for one, am very impressed!
Scott stated that “I’m confident that our report for the board is very accurate with all the functions that Radar has.”
What was Scott’s advice for other care homes?
Scott offered really valuable advice for other care homes dealing with infection control. He recommended taking the time to build your system for your specific needs as it will save so much time in the long run. For example, he used to spend around 12 hours a week reviewing data and picking out information from emails, but now uses Radar to achieve this in 30 minutes. Cutting down on this admin time means he can spend more time on developmental work and support.
Thistle have been using Radar for nearly 2 years, and continue to change their processes with ease thanks to its flexibility.
Conclusions from the webinar
The discussion between Garry and Scott really highlighted that Radar’s software brings huge benefits to the management of infection control, which is always extremely important but especially right now.
If you would like to learn more about Thistle Healthcare, we‘ve written this handy case study for you. If you missed the webinar, you can watch it here.
You can also read Scott and Garry’s answers to the key questions asked here.