Ask any Registered Manager of a Supported Living Service what is the one thing that keeps them awake at nights and they will tell you it’s the fear of “not knowing”.
After all, if abuse can happen in a setting like Winterbourne View, where management is ever present, how much more vulnerable are individuals supported around the clock in their own homes, with not a Manager in sight?
Every provider will do their upmost to ensure that staff are well trained, that paperwork is in place, that guidelines are set, but how can they be certain that the quality of their service is consistent and that their clients and staff are safe?
It was this fear that drove The Care Division, a specialist learning disability provider in Dorset, to first conceive the idea behind MyDiary.
The answer, we felt sure, was to get real-time feedback of what was going on in the client’s house, and with CCTV cameras in every room not an option, I began talking to some of the big providers and trawling the internet to find a suitable software product that might do the job.
But I soon found that technology has been slow to catch up with the rapid move away from residential to supported living. The only systems available were all aimed at the bigger elderly care market and were administration led. There was nothing that would give us the live feedback that I felt was essential, and certainly nothing that Support Workers – the people who actually delivered the service - would feel comfortable using.
A solution to a problem that everyone knew existed but no-one had yet addressed, needed to be created and with little alternative I mapped out the fundamental requirements and took my ideas to a firm of software developers. 18 months later they came up with the first version of MyDiary which we trialled with two clients.
It needed tweaking, but it was immediately obvious that the principles were right. Using touch-screen monitors in the home with bright icons and drag & drop functionality, it gave the support staff constant access to the client’s support plan, (which could be updated at any time), as well as the planned diary of activities. It enabled them to leave feedback on that day’s activities as it happened and then gave me and my Management team instant access to that feedback, with alerts if Med’s were missed, if cash in the house did not balance and whenever an incident had occurred. I was then able to produce any number of reports for local authority commissioners or CQC at the press of a button. No more trawling through boxes of paper files!
The fact that support staff (and some of the clients too), loved using it, was a massive bonus, but the one thing that made all the difference - the clincher that has meant our company has taken on a significant number of new clients in the last 18 months - is the fact that we can give access to this feedback to the parents of the client we support, at any time of day or night and from any PC or smart phone, anywhere in the world. Parents no longer feel disconnected from their child and no longer have to simply trust that The Care Division is doing a good job. They can see so for themselves!
When I sat down for the first time with the developers, I told them I envisaged having ten 24x7 clients that would need the system. They remind me of that quite a lot these days! Two years later MyDiary is successfully operating with 62 of our 24x7 client’s and has proved of such interest to other providers that a new Company – MyDiary Software Ltd - has been created to actively promote MyDiary to the whole of the LD community.
The software is being launched exclusively at the LDT London Conference & Exhibition at Kensington Olympia on 27th November where a large MyDiary Zone will give everyone the opportunity to get involved in seeing just how intuitive, user-friendly and addictive MyDiary can be, with three workshops during the day to demonstrate all the functionality on offer with the full system, as well as the Tablet and Mobile versions.
This is the type of software that is going to revolutionise supported living services. It’s a game-changer, and needs to be seen to be believed. So book your place at the show now and come and see for yourself…