Mycarematters works in any care setting

We originally designed Mycarematters as a way of reliably sharing a person’s non-medical needs and preferences with hospital staff, wanting to eliminate the delay between admission and collecting the information about what matters to a person, when they can’t communicate those things for themselves.

But of course it works just as well in care homes to ensure everyone interacting with the person is aware of the information they need to deliver person-centred care. There is then the added benefit of a person’s Mycarematters Profile being immediately available in the event the person has to undergo a stay in hospital.

It’s just the same for people being cared for in their own home. It’s ready and waiting for a hospital stay, just in case, but it can also provide visiting carers with a quick introduction of the information they need to provide a more personalised style of care.

A person’s Mycarematters profile can be viewed on any internet linked device but we find that printouts are still the most popular way to display a person’s Profile, and we offer a range of display options to suit all environments: click here for further information…

Wish to create a free Mycarematters profile for yourself, a relative or your care home residents? Click here

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Leaflets anyone?

MCM leaflet cutout v2Our design team have created a new leaflet to explain what we’re all about, for those people most likely to undergo a hospital visit, and we need to get them out there! Are you a homecare agency, a memory assessment unit, a carers’ group, GP surgery or any other organisation interacting with people who might benefit from having a Mycarematters Profile?

If so, please email us a brief description of your organisation, the number of leaflets you need and your full postal address, and we’ll get some in the post to you.

It’s entirely free to create a Mycarematters Profile and having one in place can help hospital staff get to know the person beyond the medical condition. It provides information staff need if they are to deliver person-centred and holistic care, and is particularly important if the person will struggle to communicate their needs and preferences.

What’s different about Mycarematters?

Three aspects make Mycarematters stand out from the other interventions designed to improve person-centred care in hospitals.

Brevity – few of the hospital staff interacting with a patient will have time to go to their file and read what might be considered ‘non-essential’ information. But put a single page of facts-at-a-glance in their line of sight and they’ll be able to see a patient’s likes and dislikes within seconds.

Immediacy – when a person arrives on a ward unable to communicate, it might be a day or two before family members visit or staff get the opportunity to contact them to find out more. Until then, staff will be unaware of what matters to the patient which can lead to mistakes, as well as confusion and anxiety for the person. If a Mycarematters profile has been created in advance of a hospital stay, it can be brought in in paper form, or is available for staff to view or print out from any internet linked device.

Transferability – a person’s Mycarematters profile can be accessed from any internet linked device with their name, date of birth and Mycarematters code. So, whether moving between wards or hospitals or transferring to residential care, the person’s Mycarematters profile can immediately be viewed onscreen or printed out.

We are working hard, not only to raise awareness of the importance of creating a Mycarematters profile, but also to encourage hospitals to embed the use of Mycarematters into their procedures. Create profiles now, for yourself and the important people in your life, and help spread the word!

Click here to create a Mycarematters profile.

Click here for further information on how your hospital might use Mycarematters.

 

 

 

Mycarematters in the papers

We had the opportunity to do some advertising in a couple of the national papers recently, as there were some tempting deals in recognition of World Alzheimer’s Month. It’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day firefighting and minutae of running a project like this, so an advertising campaign is the perfect opportunity for us to remind ourselves of the bigger picture: our goals and aspirations, who we most need to reach, what outcomes we are seeking.

Design team meeting 180717

After a couple of brainstorming sessions with our fabulous designers, the Mycarematters Design Collective, this is what we came up with:

In the Guardian on World Alzheimer’s Day we published this…

Guardian ad 210917

And in the Mail on Sunday’s Lifestyle section a few weeks later we went with this…

Mycarematters MoS advert 151017

We asked the ‘Twitterati’ for some feedback and ‘Stan the runner’ in particular got a lot of comments: ‘Very touching and warm’, ‘visually striking’, ‘captures the essence of the person’, ‘helps us see beyond the illness and distress’, ‘simple to read, easy to understand’, ‘so very true: everyone needs to understand how a little chat can go a long way’, ‘brilliant idea: need more of this’, and more.

It’s unlikely to be something we do on a regular basis but it was a useful exercise and reaffirmed for us how vital a service like Mycarematters is to help encourage a person-centred approach for ALL patients.

To create, update or retrieve a Mycarematters profile click here.

Why do we call Mycarematters a ‘system’?

Mycarematters is much more than ‘just’ an online platform. I’ll explain what I mean by that, but first a bit of background.

Initially, we produced the Remember-I’m-Me Care Charts, simple wall charts to share a person’s needs and preferences, which have been adopted by care homes throughout the UK. When a care home manager commented how useful it was for the paramedics to read it before transporting a resident to hospital, we wanted to find a way for that information to travel with them. Our first solution was the Pocket chart, which addresses some of the shortcomings of the other solutions available. It is designed to fit in a pocket or handbag, stand up by the bedside and it’s shape and size make it difficult to file it away. It also retained what I believe to be a vital feature of all our tools: it is a quick facts-at-a-glance read.

The Pocket Care Chart is now widely used, but it does not address the issue of information getting lost in transit or left behind. So that’s where Mycarematters comes in, utilising the benefits of the internet to store and share information, and making it accessible via any internet-linked device.

A person’s Mycarematters profile can be viewed onscreen, but limiting it to that loses an important feature of the care charts: ensuring that anyone interacting with the person has access to their needs and preferences. At some point we may be able to set up tablets next to hospital beds (it is unlikely in the foreseeable future that all porters, volunteers, housekeeping staff etc will be issued with any kind of electronic device) but for now what hospitals are telling us is they need printouts.

The question then arises as to where the printout should go. I am convinced that it needs to be in everyone’s line of sight. Even a single-sided sheet of facts-at-glance is less likely to be seen if it’s consigned to the file. (I was delighted to see that NHS Improvement agreed with this principle in a recent report.) Every member of hospital staff has a role to play in maximising the quality of care received by a patient, so it stands to reason that every member of staff needs to understand what matters to the patient. Few staff will have the time – or feel they have permission –  to go to the patient’s file for ‘non-essential’ information, so we have a developed a number of solutions to display a person’s Mycarematters profile behind the bed, many of of which are now in use in different hospitals.

So, back to the question of why we are calling it a system. It’s going to take quite a while before every person at risk of a stay in hospital has a Mycarematters profile in place in advance of a hospital stay, and there will always be some people reluctant to use an online service. They should not be denied the benefits of having a Mycarematters profile, so we are providing hospitals with blank forms that can be completed by hand by families, volunteers or staff and displayed in the same way. We are now working on ways to digitise those handwritten profiles, with the patient’s permission, so that it can be available for future stays in the same or other care settings.

So the Mycarematters System is a hybrid of digital, paper and display solutions, designed to enable the widest number of people to reap the benefits of having a Mycarematters profile, whether on- or off-line and regardless of the care setting.

If you feel there are ways we can improve our service we’d love to hear from you: click here to email us. If you work in a hospital or other care setting and would like to use Mycarematters please click here. And if you’d like to create, update or retrieve a Mycarematters profile please click here.

“It’s a brilliant idea…”

We could not have asked for a more positive response to the Mycarematters system during our trials at East Surrey Hospital (Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust). The Display Boards were still being fixed  in place behind the beds in two wards, when a visiting daughter commented: ‘It makes Mum a person again’. And staff ‘got it’ immediately, appreciating the value of the information being conveniently to hand and accessible by everyone interacting with the patient.

We chose to introduce a hybrid system of paper and digital, because not everyone wants to use the internet or has access to it, and it is vital that everyone who wishes to create a Mycarematters profile for themselves or their loved one has the opportunity to do so. The Display Boards allow the profile, whether printed out or written by hand, to be referred to at-a-glance, and also provide space to write further notes, and to display a photo.

Lorraine Kutner, from Redhill, who has been visiting her dad, John, said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea because dad is not able to express his likes and dislikes, what kind of person he is. The board shows his preferences from music to food, a little bit about his personality as he is a very private person, which is important for hospital staff to know. I think it’s a really nice insight into my dad.”

Of course, creating a record of a person’s likes and dislikes is not a new idea, but where the Mycarematters system differs is in enabling the information to be a) available from the minute a person is admitted to the ward and b) quickly and easily accessible to all those interacting with the person.

To achieve the first point, it is important that people are made aware that they can create a Mycarematters profile in advance of a hospital visit, and to either keep a printout in their hospital bag or ensure that their Mycarematters code is easily visible (we offer personalised keyfobs for this purpose). Creating an online profile has the advantage of being able to be updated and reprinted whenever necessary, and can be retrieved from anywhere in the world with the person’s name, date of birth and Mycarematters code.

And for the second point, we have designed it to fit on one side of an A4 sheet and have created a number of display options to ensure it can easily be printed out and viewed by everyone interacting with the patient. (It can also be viewed on any phone, tablet or laptop and we shall be working with hospitals to integrate with their IT systems, but that will not happen overnight.

If you work in a hospital where you feel Mycarematters could help with your person-centred care, please get in touch. And if you are an individual anticipating a hospital stay at some point (and aren’t we all), or care for someone who struggles to communicate, then do create a Mycarematters profile (it’s free!), and be sure to bring it to the attention of hospital staff in the event of a hospital stay.

 

 

Reg’s story

It has been an incredibly valuable experience, during the initial trials of Mycarematters in community hospitals, to sit down with patients and their families and go through the process of creating a Mycarematters record together. Not only valuable for what it has taught me about the Mycarematters tech (that’s the easy bit) but in hearing what is important to people about their care in hospital, and observing the relationship between patients and staff.

One of the first conversations I had was with the lovely Reg* and Betty*.

Reg is 94 and lives with his wife Betty, who is 92. They’ve been married since 1944, when Reg was given two days’ leave from the Royal Marines to marry his sweetheart. Betty told me that Reg is regularly admitted to hospital with kidney infections because he doesn’t drink enough, and that makes him unsteady on his feet and he becomes very confused and even delirious.

In providing me with information to complete a Mycarematters record for Reg, Betty told me he’d already fallen out of bed twice whilst in hospital. At home he always has his walker parked by his bed so he can get to the bathroom without help. That’s not been happening in hospital so I asked Betty if she’d said anything about his walker to the hospital staff. She hadn’t and it was clear that she didn’t want to interfere, it was not her place to do so. But she was quite happy for it to go on Reg’s Mycarematters record.

This was not the only time people demonstrated an expectation that hospital staff know best, that they didn’t want to waste their time with seemingly innocuous information. By generating a Mycarematters record in advance, whether anticipating a hospital stay or not,  those issues are sidestepped altogether.

If I’d had any doubts at all about the value of Mycarematters, they vanished when I was talking to Reg and Betty. Reg is lucky, he hadn’t fractured anything in his falls, but in the future, a quick read by staff of his Mycarematters record might allow him to avoid the trauma of a fall in the first place.

*names have been changed