How technology can improve staff retention in home and domiciliary care
My mother in law is a carer. She has worked as a carer for over 30 years, for a number of different agencies. Her current agency has been the longest one she has worked for, at nearly 5 years now. I asked her why she moved companies in the past, and it always came down to a similar kind of reason for changing; too much pressure put on the staff with responsibilities, without a change in processes and procedures. Staff retention is one of the biggest challenges for Domiciliary Care agencies. Keeping your best staff is your top priority, and identifying the pain points of your staff is important. So how can technology help?
Carers are a precious, and finite resource; not everyone can be a carer. Thankfully, technology loves processes and procedures. Adapting the way in which a carer goes about their daily care duties towards being technology based, instead of paper based, saves a huge amount of time, money and most importantly stress in carer’s lives. Lets look at a few ways that this can be the case.
Integrations – these days, any device can use the internet to talk to each other. From the smart fridge that knows that you’re low on milk and texts your phone to remind you to get some, to something perhaps a bit more relevant, with smartphones and wearable devices able to communicate with basic medical equipment and store and analyse that information. An example is the blood sugar level monitors that are used, or fall detection units. These are equipped with an antenna or internet connection to communicate information between devices. The benefit of this is that there is more information there for a carer, and they are able to get the most up to date information because of these connections.
Reducing travel times and paperwork.
Timesheets and rostering; any care coordinators nightmare, if being done with phone and pen and paper! Yes, this is still a common practice across the UK. With technology, once a carer has been entered into a system, then they can have a roster generated by a computer. This can be communicated without having to print anything off; as soon as a roster goes live, a dedicated application (like NurseBuddy) can inform the carer of where, when, and what they need to be doing for each of their clients. There is no need to go in to the office to collect rosters and to give back time sheets, as everything can be coordinated digitally, whether via a dedicated app or simply emailed through. So this is a big time and money saver. Going paperless saves companies hundreds and thousands of pounds a year, and not having to travel to the office every day or week saves time for carers.
Tracking your workforce.
GPS and electronic monitoring; often, a carer does not want to be monitored, or is scared of being tracked outside of working hours. Domiciliary care agencies have a need for this; knowing when your staff arrive at a place and leave is extremely important to the running of the business. There are a number of different technologies that help to assist in finding out if a carer has arrived; Near Field contact devices are another idea, though it does take some additional investment in devices, while in my opinion GPS wins out due to its accessibility and accuracy. As much as anything else, this so called ‘monitoring’ phase should give peace of mind to a carer, because its a digital and unquestionable record that they were at the right place, at the right time. They know that they can rely on their device to not only tell them what to do, but to tell the office that they are doing it. The need for spot checks are greatly reduced, though of course not eliminated, because knowing that carers are at a clients house when they need to be gives good peace of mind to all involved in the care process. It does have the other advantage to providers of being able to identify any troublemakers, constant lates or no-shows, and be able to deal with any carers that may be bringing down the reputation of a company.
Analysis and Metrics: Using technology to make improvements.
Recording everything makes a database of information, information that can be queried to report and analyse how your care business is running. Important statistics like how many hours are your carers working in a month, how many late or missed visits there are, or if carers need particular certifications to visit a particular client or even warn when there are certifications expiring.
Improving the carer-client relationship.
Relationships also help improve staff retention, and by using technology, more time can be spent with clients to improve carer to client relationships. By utilising technology, you can also keep family members involved in the process, for example my uncle is in care and my father is his legal guardian, but is based in Dublin. By having and utilising technology, progress with care can be communicated with loved ones, to keep them up to date, and give them peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving the best quality of care possible. Therefore, the client does not change care provider, and the relationships with carers are maintained. A happier workforce leads to better retention.
Let’s discuss how NurseBuddy can help your business solve issues through the use of care management technology. Just fill in the form below, and we’ll get back to you.