Delivering meaningful and measurable 1-1 engagement with interactiveMe; A briefing document
Care homes are busy places and whilst care tasks such as medication, assisting with meals, washing and dressing need to be done, it is very important that each individual resident is involved with meaningful interaction, engagement and activity which is centred on their own interests and passions. It is therefore important that all staff have a full understanding of a resident’s, background, life story and interests which can often be a challenge with paper-based systems, staff turnover and the use of agency workers.
It can be difficult for staff in care homes to know what is important for every resident and how to engage them meaningfully in conversation, interaction and keep them mentally stimulated. All residents are at different stages of their conditions and have lived different lives meaning that they have different needs when it comes to interaction and stimulation. There is a strong evidence base which shows that engaging with a person in a meaningful (personalised and relevant) way improves health outcomes such as quality of life, happiness and reductions in anxiety and depression. For example one person may love aircraft because of their background as a pilot and the person next to them may have a fear of aircraft because of a bad experience in the war.
Care staff need to have a clear understanding of how to manage certain challenging behaviours which are caused by a person who has a condition such dementia. These can include behavioural challenges which take up more staff time if they are not managed efficiently. Staff need quick and accessible tools at their disposal to manage situations quickly before they escalate.
It is important for families, managers and CQC inspectors that the engagement with 1-1 activity brings is being measured in a way that can be reported on. This is very difficult to do without teams having suitable tools at their disposal to do so.
Families quite rightly have high expectations of how their loved one is being cared for socially as well as physically. They want to know that their loved one is receiving more than just care support, they want to know how they are being engaged with in a meaningful way and what the benefits have been with such engagement.
Families of people living in a care home are keen to remain involved in their loved one’s care and want to remain connected to them and visa versa. This is difficult when family members do not live locally, have busy working lives and want to make sure that their relative in the care home is kept up to date with family events and special occasions.
InteractiveMe is an Occupational Therapy service supported by a therapeutic tool accessed on touchscreen tablets in the care home. The service builds a ‘profile’ with family members which contains personalised information to support care staff and families to engage meaningfully with the person.
The multi-award winning service meets all the above challenges and is proven to improve resident engagement, personalised activities and reduce behaviours that challenge in Dementia Care.
The team at interactiveMe invite a family member to an assessment during which they gather information about the person, their preferences and what the team can do now to support their social health and mental stimulation. Each profile completed with the family contains personal photos, videos, music and text all of which is relevant to the person and which staff can use to build excellent relationships with their residents.
Once interactiveMe practitioners have created the profile, it is used with the person as a 1-1 therapeutic activity and each session can be ‘outcomed’ to report on how it has improved the resident’s day in terms of engagement, contentment and wellbeing.
Families can use their own tablets to login to the ‘profile’ and add new information, videos, music and remotely ‘visit’ their loved one using a video screen similar to Skype.
For residents who do not have family or who’s family we have not been able to contact we will set up a ‘short’ profile whereby we create a profile based on information we can acquire from the care home. Short profiles contain media and content which the person will enjoy as well as any life story information the care home have already within their care plan.
An Occupational Therapist visits the care home monthly to review with key team members how they are utilising the tool and to meet new families or train new staff. Occupational Therapists are qualified Allied Health Professionals who enable people to live well with a condition and promote meaningful personalised activity and independence.
The team also create profiles for new residents moving into the home and liaise directly with families to offer them additional advice and support regarding their loved one moving into the care home and how the home should support them using the interactiveMe tablets.
A report is sent to the care home’s manager monthly which enables them to have an understanding of the usage in the home as well as evidence for inspectors when they visit the home. Families can ‘opt-in’ to an individualised report which is sent to them monthly and outlines how many 1-1 sessions their loved one has had using interactiveMe and which parts of the profile have been accessed most.