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Care Rostering Software Systems: How To Choose?
October 14, 2021
Our partners tell us that staff rostering presents ongoing challenges for home care providers. Although care rostering software systems are available on the market, it’s hard to find one that does everything you need it to.
A well-designed rostering tool can help you allocate visits, manage holidays and absences, maintain good staffing levels and meet CQC expectations. On the other hand, an ineffective or clunky system is not only unhelpful, but it can actually be a hindrance. So it’s important to get it right.
To help you choose the right care rostering system, let’s look at the common challenges of rostering and staffing a home care agency and how a software system can help.
Ensuring adequate staffing levels
To meet your clients’ needs safely and effectively, you must have enough carers to complete all visits in the time available, on a day-to-day basis, and looking ahead to the medium and long term.
A care rostering software system should provide an at-a-glance view of daily visits and staff on duty at any one time, so you can meet the minimum levels of staffing needed to meet clients’ needs for that day. It should also allow you to plan ahead of time, identify gaps in the team and aid recruitment planning.
Allocating and reallocating visits easily
Good care relies on the carer having enough time to be present and attentive during a visit without feeling rushed. An understaffed service puts carers under pressure to get in and out of visits as quickly as possible, which can make a client reluctant to voice concerns or issues in fear of ‘holding up’ the carer or adding to their workload.
A dynamic, flexible rostering software system allows you to easily allocate visits and move visits around at the click of a mouse. The rostering system can integrate with a wider software platform to communicate any changes to carers out on the road.
In practice, this means that if a carer gets held up during their shift, you can reallocate their visits to other carers and send updates and instructions to the team as required.
Managing staff absence
As a home care agency manager, you have to closely monitor staff absence to maintain safe staffing levels and to be able to plan care effectively. However, it can be hard to keep track of absences and know when to implement company policies to support staff who need it.
Choose a care rostering software system that automatically tracks absence rates and compares them to customised parameters. You can then identify any concerning patterns quickly, put support measures in place, and keep track of return-to-work meetings, phased returns and HR or Occupational Health interventions.
Calculating holiday entitlement
As a home care business, we know you employ many different staff members on various contracts of employment, working part-time, full time and overtime hours. Keeping track of the holiday entitlement of each employee can be time-consuming and complicated.
A good care rostering software system calculates holiday entitlement automatically and displays it in an instant so that you can easily track holidays booked, owed and outstanding. You might even use it to distribute holiday allowance throughout the year to avoid a stressful, short-staffed March as people rush to use up holidays before the end of the tax year.
Choose a care rostering software system that accommodates advanced planning to help you preempt issues and adjust staffing levels according to needs. For example, if you’re about to take on a new client with complex needs, you need to know you have the right skill mix and staff numbers to deliver the level of care that person needs. If you spot a lack, you have the time to recruit in preparation.
Advance rostering is also popular with carers who benefit from knowing their shift patterns and working days in advance.
Being ready for inspection
The CQC recognises that careful workforce planning and rostering can help you keep people safe and meet their needs. You’ll be expected to demonstrate how you meet this requirement during your CQC inspection. Recording data such as the number of visits completed, time spent at visits, and whether you are meeting minimum staffing levels provides evidence that you are meeting CQC requirements and ensures you’re ready for inspection at all times.
Choose a software system that tracks your performance in real-time, so you can continually improve your service and improve your chances of achieving a good or outstanding rating at your next CQC inspection.
When we developed our all-in-one Birdie platform, we addressed every one of these needs to create a care rostering software system that exceeds expectations. It works seamlessly alongside the many other features that we’ve designed to help your home care agency run like clockwork. Read more about the Birdie platform.