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Records: Why is #CareAboutMe important?

Records: Why is #CareAboutMe important?

Dr Annette Gilmore, RN, leads the standards implementation conformance assessor team and the suite of nursing standard development projects at Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB). Here she describes the #CareAboutMe campaign, promoting wider use of the ‘About me’ standard for patient information that matters.

People have never been more interested in their health and wellbeing – the NHS.UK website has had a staggering one billion visits to its health and care pages recently. But conversely, how much do we, as professionals, know about the people for whom we provide care?

Care planning is at the heart of nursing and understanding the person’s health and care needs and wishes has always been key to good nursing care. This is particularly important when people are unable to easily express their wishes and needs and are looked after by teams in different care settings. Important information about the person and how to care for them is frequently difficult to find, it may not be recorded, nor transferred with the person, or it may be scattered and buried in a variety of digital and paper-based patient records.

For example, when someone has a fall in their home, it is imperative that occupational therapists and community nurses know personal details about someone’s home environment to  implement suitable adjustments  to prevent further falls. On the surface, it may not seem critical to know that a person lives on a boat, but to install independence aids swiftly and appropriately, it soon becomes an essential piece of information.

The Professional Record Standard Body (PRSB) has solved this problem by creating the About Me standard which defines, structures, and standardises the information that people feel is important to share with their health and care team. About Me information may include things like how best to communicate with the person, how to put them at ease in unfamiliar environments, their spiritual beliefs and customs, who and what is important to them like a special toy or blanket, and how they like to eat their food, for example.

I’m sure you are thinking ‘well we already collect this information about our patients’. I know this was my reaction before I understood what this standard is really about and how to use it. The important difference of ‘About Me’ is that the information is provided, by the person themselves or with the support of their carer. It can be in written format, multimedia, or a combination of both. It is the information they know is important for care givers to have about them.

The standard ensures all this information is assembled in one place and available in a prominent position in the person’s health and care record; it can be shared digitally, in a consistent way, which makes it easy to share between computer systems and for care teams to easily recognise the information and know where to find it. This is especially important when transferring the person to another setting, in emergencies or even when a person is attending an outpatient or community service appointment. Feedback and evaluations show that having this information at your fingertips makes things easier for the person, their loved ones and nurses; it enables more efficient, effective and safer care for all.

This is why PRSB has launched the #CareAboutMe campaign, to champion the About Me standard and raise awareness of the real positive impact it can make to people’s care experiences and to the nurses and others providing care. It’s so easy to use, all that is required is the will to implement it correctly and use it as intended.

This standard is a practical example of delivering personalised care, empowering people to better manage their conditions and enabling care information to flow with the person not the professional or service.

It was developed by people, professionals and system suppliers, and we want to ensure that this collaborative approach continues as the standard is implemented everywhere.

We want to hear from nurses who are using it or who are interested in About Me and want to find out more.

Share your experience and get involved in our campaign to help us accelerate the provision of person-centred care that will make a difference.

Find out more about the #CareAboutMe campaign at: https://info.theprsb.org/careaboutme

Dr Annette Gilmore, RN, leads the standards implementation conformance assessor team and the suite of nursing standard development projects at PRSB. She is an experienced nurse, researcher and informatician who trained as a nurse and midwife in Ireland, and has worked with acute and community healthcare teams, universities, NMC, and now PRSB. Her PhD, in informatics, showed the feasibility of using a regional patient disease registry for the dual purposes of research and routine clinical care management.

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