02 February 2017

Laptops make a difference

Thanks to several generous donations from various supporters, all Rennie Grovenurses working on new laptop hospice at home nurses now have new laptops and Rennie Grove laptop bags.  The grants will help the charity meet the increasing demand for its 24/7 responsive nursing service in patients’ homes.

Director of Nursing & Clinical Services, Sue Varvel explains: “Our nurses were in urgent need of new laptops to access patient data quickly and securely whilst working in the community.  They’d been relying on outdated equipment with slow connections and small screens, which meant they were having to return to an office base – often in the middle of the night – to update patient records and collect information for their next visit.”

Now all 70 of the charity’s hospice at home nurses are able to view and update patient records securely without having to return to an office or log on from home.  Sue adds: “Not only does this free up valuable nursing time to be spent with patients, but it also reduces mileage expenses for nurses’ travel.  We are able to operate more efficiently and ensure more of the funds raised by our generous supporters can go directly towards patient care.”

In facilitating faster access to crucial information, the new laptops and associated technology will make it easier for Rennie Grove nurses to request changes to medication should a patient’s condition suddenly deteriorate.  “We arrange for our patients to have ‘just in case’ medication in their homes for such an occurrence,” explains Sue, “but sometimes the prescribed dose is insufficient and a nurse will need to ring the patient’s GP or on-call doctor for permission to increase the dose.  At times like this, speed is of the essence: if we can quickly bring a patient’s symptoms under control, we can avoid an unnecessary and distressing hospital admission.  Our responsive service means we can get to the patient quickly but up till now our technology had been lagging behind.  These donations have made such a difference.”

Senior Hospice at Home Nurse, Becky Withey, says:The new laptop has been my saviour. I started using it with no idea how I’d incorporate it into my working day but it has revolutionised my working practice. I don’t necessarily log on straight after each patient visit but will use it when I have a gap between patients and will then input notes from all my morning visits. This makes the best use of my time and cuts down on mileage.  Working in this way means connectivity in black spots is never an issue for me.

“I’m also able to use it to send medication requests directly to GPs for my patients, which are then processed and ready for me to collect instead of having to wait at the surgery.”

Additional donations from grant-making bodies and individual supporters have enabled Rennie Grove to buy branded laptop bags.  As well as keeping the laptops safe and secure, the bags are a non-intrusive way of identifying the care provider.  Sue explains: “Patients can see so many healthcare professionals in the home so we hope this is a subtle reminder of who we are and how we can help them.  Going into a patient’s home, our nurses are always mindful of privacy and maintaining a homely, non-clinical atmosphere.  But in order to safeguard the future of this service – especially as it is sadly in increasing demand – we need to make sure people know that Rennie Grove is providing a key part of their care.”