The LifeLoop team works hard to deliver a great product. But, it's our customers that truly realize the platform's potential.
Birchgrove, a senior living system in the United Kingdom, has found innovative ways to utilize the platform during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Honor Barratt, Managing Director, and Matthew Steere, Head of Data and Customer Insights, shared with us some of the expected, and unexpected ways, they have found value in the platform.
Like senior living communities here in the States, life was turned upside down by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. With community lockdowns pending, and fear of the unknown, new ways of doing things came to the forefront. And for Birchgrove, a portfolio of high-quality assisted living apartments, it was no different.
12 hours before the first lockdown began in the UK, Matt found himself frantically searching for family member contact information to notify the appropriate parties of what was about to take place. Individually calling each residents’ loved ones in such a short time frame proved to be both frustrating and inefficient. “Once we came out of our first lockdown, we realized we could not continue to operate in this way. We had to find a technology solution that allowed us to communicate and operate more efficiently,” said Honor.
Regardless of the state of business or the world around it, sharing information with family members, residents, and staff is essential for efficiency. While it sounds simple enough, many senior living operators have learned during the pandemic that it is anything but. “We have realized in hindsight that the bonus benefit of the COVID pandemic is that it forced us all to evolve quite quickly; our technology and the life before that was dominated by post-it notes was no longer going to work,” said Honor.
For Birchgrove, one of the key takeaways was realizing that learning from the pandemic was far more productive than being overwhelmed by it. It allowed them to find and create new ways of doing things and be more purposeful in their communication processes.
Finding the Right Technology Partners
Like many communities, the desire for a technology partner was always there for Birchgrove. But finding the capacity to take that on alongside of regular daily tasks at the community level felt like a difficult balance to achieve. “We always thought in time we will get to that. And then the pandemic hastened it. And once we looked into LifeLoop a bit more, we discovered it was so much more than we originally realized,” said Matt. “Our expectations were actually quite high because Sherpa was life-changing for us and set such a high benchmark for a technology partner, Honor added. “We knew we needed to find similar solutions for other areas and LifeLoop was one of those solutions.”
While streamlining the communication process was the initial draw to bringing LifeLoop on board, they were quick to share that the benefits were not only felt by staff, but by family members as well. Today’s families live in a connected world. They don’t want to break a connection with their loved ones just because they move into a senior living community. Showing a resident’s day-to-day activities might seem like a small thing, but for these family members — it’s absolutely priceless. “LifeLoop helped us solve problems we didn’t even know we had. It allowed us to realize the types of things family members wanted to know about their loved ones. Also, the ability to keep on top of the community as a whole with LifeLoop was quite amazing. We thought we were on top of it but with LifeLoop we realized there was so much more we could be doing,” said Honor.
Access for All
Never has the need for clear, transparent communication and effective collaboration between care teams been more important. The idea that LifeLoop provides access for all was game changing for the entire team at Birchgrove. LifeLoop streamlined communication and daily operations for staff and kept the entire care team on the same page. “We had been running slack for team communication. But we have moved off of that and put all that information into LifeLoop,” said Honor. Since many of the Birchgrove care providers work in 12-hour shifts, documenting notes on a resident level allows each staff member to be completely up to date when they start work for the day. And best of all, the intuitive interface meant that staff didn’t have to spend very long getting familiar with the platform.
In his role as Head of Data and Customer Insights, Matt also regularly utilizes the activity charts and reporting features in LifeLoop. His understanding of resident well-being runs deep, and he knows how important it is to not only look at a resident’s physical health, but also the correlation between engagement, stimulation, and activity level. “Those charts serve as a visual manifestation of what the resident is going through,” said Matt. “It is important to take that resident reporting information and share it with others on the team.” For the entire staff at Birchgrove, LifeLoop now serves as a great audit trail for checks and balances.
More than a Communication Tool
As senior living occupancy rates became strained during much of the past year, Birchgrove adopted the idea of a trial stay in October 2020. Knowing that it was increasingly difficult for families and potential residents to make such a big decision during a pandemic, they offered a two-week window of time where a potential resident could move in and see if they felt at home. And what they learned from this was remarkable.
“We found that if we got the family members invited to LifeLoop, even for the two-week trial stay, it was an extraordinary sales tool,” said Matt. “They wouldn’t have to rely on their mom to remember what she did each day. They were able to see it for themselves in real time.”
These exchanges of information leave room for more meaningful relationships between the community and its stakeholders. Making the communication personal, rather than procedural, builds an invaluable trust and helps sustain positive word-of-mouth. And by opening up a three-way flow of communication between staff members, residents and families, everyone who is involved is enriched by it. “When a family member tells us what will make the trial stay epic, we put that information into the system and LifeLoop disseminates that information to the right person. LifeLoop has added discipline to our move-in process which, in the past, was a little sporadic. The automating of that process is really very valuable,” said Honor.
Instead of looking at the pandemic as a disruption, Birchgrove chose to look at it as an opportunity to re-evaluate operations and innovate in as many areas as possible. Finding the right partners to be an extension of your organization can have a collective impact on residents, families and staff members. Through the challenges of the past year, the team at Birchgrove has established communication as a best practice and gained confidence in the solutions they have developed to help them be successful.