As COVID-19 changed every facet of life for people and businesses across the world and more details became clear about how and where the virus is most likely to spread, one sector of frontline workers were suddenly central to keeping the elderly safe.
So as we look toward a second year of lockdowns, restrictions and vaccine rollouts, what are the lessons from the UK’s care home sector that can be adapted throughout your business operations? What are the small but important changes you can make to ensure you and your staff can do your most important job: care for your residents and patients?
The UK has more than 15.5 million people aged 60 and over. Even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, many challenges made caring for the UK’s ageing population difficult, with even more pressure to come in the next few years. Caregivers now have to constantly reimagine and reorganise their operations to best meet the changing clinical demands.
In these challenging times – not just now but also post-pandemic – digital tools have become indispensable. In this article, we’ll tell how you can use these tools to improve efficiency and curb the spread of the virus within your facility.
Let’s dive in!
Address Staffing Needs
Maintaining the right number of staff is essential to providing a safe work environment for caregivers resulting in better care for patients. For this reason, you should anticipate potential shortages and put sound plans in place to mitigate them.
Doing so in a sector that’s often understaffed, however, can be problematic. Factor in the uncertainty caused by the pandemic and a lack of agency or “bank” staff in the sector, and you have a precarious situation — one where staffing shortages are bound to occur. This could be as a result of illness, exposure, or the need to care for their own family members at home.
As employees take leaves of unspecified lengths of time, you’ll have to have precise employee scheduling to keep staffing in check. Whether you want to create a staff rota for care home cleaning or nursing home staff rotas, care home software such as Planday will help you reach this objective.
Planday enables you to build smart and flexible staff rotas for care homes – which take into account employee skill, demand patterns, work regulations, and employee contract terms. You can also make “open” shifts available to employees with specific skills.
On top of this, you can encourage employees to swap shifts with their colleagues in Planday. Allowing employees to pick shifts that suit their schedules – and swap shifts on their own when they aren’t available – is a great strategy that moves the needle on care home staff efficiency.
Whether it’s the immediacy of dealing with COVID-19 or the range of other challenges staff rotas and staff management for care homes need, keeping clear and open communication with your people is key.
To foster an all-hands on deck approach so everyone knows what’s going on, you should create a regular communication cadence. You have to continually assess and tweak your communication plans and policies. Also, you should endeavour to deliver the right message in real-time, through the right channels.
Planday empowers care home staff to achieve this goal. Through this simple and powerful app, you can tailor communication resources for the full spectrum of work units within the facility. It’s also easy to message employees in real-time when changes occur to keep them in the know.
In doing so, you’ll foster transparency in communication and improve employee trust and engagement. This creates a community of happy care employees who are passionate about giving better care.
Satisfied caregivers can reduce the rate of infection by 87%. And while it will be difficult to hit such figures with every challenge your care home will face, a happy team will definitely provide a significant boost in stats.
Maintain Accurate Records
Keeping a comprehensive audit trail is critical to keep your business running effectively and maintaining quality assurance. Good processes and record keeping also helps manage any interruptions to staff rotas or shift-swaps for care home workers, especially during COVID-19.
Having employee management software in place can save the day. This can provide accurate time-critical data to answer questions such as:
- When did they clock in and clock out?
- Which department do they work in?
- How many colleagues were present that day?
- How many patients or residents did they work with that day?
The answers to these questions will trigger a chain of events, potentially even leading to tracing of all contacts. If any patient in the facilities did come into contact with the employee, you must make conscious efforts to keep them safe.
If you have a health record system in place, it’ll be easy to access details regarding the patients’ issues and problems faced. This way, even as you isolate them, you’ll be in a position to prescribe the most effective preventive or curative methods for the patient.
The use of digital tools also eliminates the need for manual check-in, spreadsheet data recording, and paper payments. Ultimately, this can reduce the spread of the virus within the facility by a significant degree.
Scale Care Operations with Digital Tools
Whether it’s improving care home staff rotas, communication, or record-keeping to curb the spread of COVID-19, digital care home software will help you achieve the goal.
Ready to start with the most effective of them all? You can try our staff scheduling software for free when you sign up for our 30-day trial.