Snow is always a nightmare for clients, carers, and home care companies to deal with. National agencies issue warnings and advise everyone to stay at home, but when you rely on those to assist you when in your own home, this can become a very difficult time! Thankfully, NurseBuddy are here to give a few tips on how to manage when the blizzards take hold, with tips for carers, clients and managers!
Our top tips for carers:
Know the weather forecast!
Make sure you know what the weather is going to be like a few days before all of your visits. If there is snow coming, request that visits you are being scheduled for are near to you, or that you have the means to travel to clients homes in a safe way. It may be impossible to drive, but there maybe closer clients that could be walked to. No matter what, your dedication is massively appreciated by every member of the community, especially those that you care for in these difficult times!
Know your limits!
Once the snow appears, know what you can and cannot do. This may involve having to call your manager and cancelling visits. Don’t take unnecessary risks, especially when driving. Clearing snow can be demanding work – only undertake the task if you are reasonably fit and do not have an underlying medical condition. Never use boiling water to clear snow (it may re-freeze and cause the formation of black ice)
Know your client’s limits and needs!
If you can make a visit and it has activities such as ‘Bring Outdoors’, maybe consider not doing this service on snow days, and add notes to their visits to reflect this. Ensure that they have sufficient fuel supplies to maintain adequate heating in their homes, and adequate supplies of food and medication to manage for a few extra days. There should be notes about each client and their requirements; make sure that these are up to date for these more trying visits in the snow!
Know your rota, and make swaps when you need to!
NurseBuddy can help with reassigning cancelled visits very easily, so just let your manager know your availability in the snow, and any changes or additions to your schedule will be communicated through you in app instantly. NurseBuddy can also allow carers to see and swap visits from other carers in our native app, allowing for swaps to happen very easily without having to burden managers with additional phone calls or messages.
Top Tips for clients:
Know who is visiting you and when!
Know who is meant to visit you on a particular day. Perhaps not every visit is necessary, and if you know your carer has to travel long distances in the snow that it may be better to reschedule your visit.
Stay warm, fed, and watered!
Keep warm, eat well and avoid unnecessary travel. You should eat regular hot meals and drink plenty of fluids, this will keep you warm and will give you energy to keep active. Ensure you have sufficient supplies of food and of any prescription medicine you may need.
Ask for extra help when you need it!
Ask your relatives and neighbours for help if you need it. Keep their phone numbers on a list beside your phone along with any other emergency contacts you may need.
If you have to go outdoors, take precautions!
In icy weather, wear well-fitted shoes with non-slip soles if you have to go out, but try to limit walking outside during the cold weather to a minimum. Consider wearing a personal alarm so that family or neighbours are alerted if you fall. If you have a fall, even a minor one, make sure you visit your doctor for a check up.
Top Tips for Managers
You are going to get carer cancellations. (uh oh!)
Be prepared; carers will let you know that they cannot do their visits today/tomorrow/etc. This is often because there is a distance between where they are and where the client is, and would have to be driven in order to make that visit happen. In these cases, try to schedule only important visits that can be made on foot, allowing a carer to walk to the client if needs be. If there are cases where the client is totally isolated, make sure you plan in advance and have multiple visits before and after the snow hits!
You are going to get client cancellations. (yay?)
Thankfully(?), clients will take it upon themselves to cancel visits during times of very bad weather. Make sure that your organisation has a cancellation policy in place to manage with these cancellations, and if there are cases for bad weather in this policy. Although this is lost business, because you will have carers unavilable, this will help you organise and prioritise your care visits for clients that really need it.
Prioritise visits to those that need it most.
Make sure that the visits that you are assigning for snow days are to reliable carers for your most vulnerable clients. Also ensure that the carer is ok with making the visit by calling them early in the morning; nothing beats a phone call in these cases to make sure everything is ok with your carers and your clients.
Organise and reschedule cancellations and allow for visit swaps for carers.
NurseBuddy can help with reassigning cancelled visits very easily, and once you have reassigned a visit, this information is instantly sent out to the new carer to conduct the visit. NurseBuddy also allows for carers to pick up visits from other carers in our native app, allowing for swaps to happen without having to deal with a load of admin.
Got any more tips for us? Leave us a comment below or on our awesome new Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/906581509508684 where we discuss all about home care!