March 28, 2024

How to know if you could be losing money due to inefficiency

Table of contents

Domiciliary care businesses face a unique challenge - delivering only the highest quality care to their care recipients while always ensuring the most efficient use of any resources. Owners and registered managers of these businesses must remain vigilant for any inefficiencies that may be lurking beneath the surface - some in places you may least expect.

In this article, we will explore the critical aspects where inefficiency can cost you money and provide actionable steps to address them. Let's discover how you can optimise your operations for better financial health.

Assessing care visit efficiency

‘Efficiency in care visits’ is not just a phrase to be tutted at; it directly impacts your bottom line. Every minute wasted in unnecessary travel or tasks can add up to substantial costs over time. To assess care visit efficiency, owners and managers should create and look at key performance indicators (KPIs) such as visit duration, travel time, and task completion rates. Are your care professionals spending alot of time on the road between visits? Are you able to keep track of who is over stretching themselves? Are you sure they’re able to manage their tasks efficiently?

Example: Suppose you have a care professional who spends a significant portion of their day traveling between care recipients' homes, without enough time to get between them and sometimes going back and forth between locations to get to clients. Their travel time is eating into the time they could spend providing care, and they start to arrive late to visits as the day goes on in order to get through their tasks. This is very stressful for the care professional, the client and a waste of time and money.

One approach to resolving this is to conduct regular meetings with care professionals to discuss their schedules and experiences. These discussions can provide valuable insights into travel patterns, time management, and potential stress points. Implementing a mentorship or peer review system can also help care professionals share best practices and strategies for efficient task management and travel. Additionally, engaging in community partnerships with local transport services can optimise travel routes and times, reducing the travel burden on care professionals.

Perhaps the least labour intensive way to address efficiency gaps is to invest in digital tools. These tools can help you spot, manage and deal with efficiencies effectively. In the case of the care professional above, a rostering platform - especially one that is built into care management software - can quickly flag places where their schedule may be adjusted to reduce travel between visits while matching client and care pro preferred hours. The best ones will then propose suggestions for you, taking the heavy lifting out of creating a new rota. Finally, intelligent platforms for homecare also allow you to generate performance reports, so you can quickly pinpoint areas where inefficiencies exist. By taking proactive steps based on the data-driven insights a scheduling tool can give you, you can significantly improve the efficiency of your care visits, reduce unnecessary costs and maybe even get time back.

Optimising your care team

Your care professionals really are your most valuable assets - and making the most of their time and energy is not just crucial for the wellbeing of your clients, but helps create big cost savings. As we’ve seen above, managing care professionals' schedules can be challenging already - but especially when it comes to dealing with last-minute adjustments, shift changes, or emergencies. However care coordinators should always look for ways to ensure that staff members are utilised optimally and aren’t taken for granted.

Example: Imagine a scenario where one of your care professionals, John, frequently faces last-minute schedule changes that disrupt his work-life balance. This can lead to burnout and decreased efficiency, potentially putting your clients at risk. By using digital rostering tools, you can create schedules that automatically align with your staff's availability and preferences, reducing the need for last-minute adjustments or panics.

To begin tackling this, regular face-to-face check-ins with staff can help identify burnout symptoms and address work-life balance concerns. Encourage a culture of open communication where staff can express their preferences or concerns regarding their schedules. Adopting a team-based approach to scheduling, where care professionals have a say in their schedules, can also improve morale and efficiency. Regular training sessions and workshops focusing on time management and stress reduction can equip care professionals with skills to manage their workload more effectively.

Digital rostering and scheduling can be a game-changer in this regard. These tools allow you to create optimised schedules that consider factors like staff availability, skills, and proximity to care recipients. They can also help facilitate better communication with care professionals, making it easier to fill shifts or update schedules on the go if needed. By adopting digital scheduling solutions, you can reduce the risk of overstaffing through making sure everyone is working to their optimum schedule, minimise overtime costs by keeping track of preferred hours, and ensure that each care professional is utilised efficiently and doing their best work yet..

Monitoring medication management

Medication management is a critical aspect of any care role, and even the slightest inefficiency in this area can have serious consequences. Mistakes or delays in medication administration not only jeopardise the well-being of care recipients but can also lead to legal and financial implications for your business. Therefore, it's essential to ensure that medication administration is carried out efficiently and accurately.

Example: Consider a situation where a care recipient is receiving multiple medications, and there is a risk of dosage errors due to manual tracking. By implementing digital medication management tools, you can ensure that they receive the correct medications at the right times, reducing the risk of errors and potential legal issues.

One way towards effective medication management comes through comprehensive training programs for care professionals. Regular workshops on medication protocols, updates on new medication guidelines, and hands-on training sessions can ensure that staff are well-prepared to manage medications accurately. Additionally, implementing a buddy system, where two care professionals cross-check medication administration, can reduce the risk of errors. Regular audits of medication logs and feedback sessions with care professionals can also highlight areas for improvement in the medication management process.

Digital medication management tools can significantly improve the efficiency of this process. These tools provide features such as medication reminders, dosage tracking, and medication administration records. Care professionals can use mobile apps to access real-time medication information, reducing the risk of errors. By embracing digital solutions for medication management, you can enhance efficiency, minimise errors, and ensure the safety of your care recipients, ultimately saving money by avoiding costly mistakes.

Streamlining administrative tasks

Administrative tasks are a necessary part of domiciliary care, but excessive administrative overheads can strain your resources. Paperwork, reporting, and manual data entry are time-consuming and can lead to inefficiencies. They can also cost much more money than you might suspect - when was the last time you looked at your printing bill, for example?

Example: Think about the time and effort your care professionals spend on manual paperwork, which could otherwise be utilised for direct care. Taking a paper care plan from a clients house to the office and back again - sometimes several times in a month if things have changed quickly! That’s a lot of printing, fuel, time travelling, confusion for the client…

Firstly, consider simplifying documentation and reporting processes. Implementing standardised forms and checklists across every area of the business can make things more straightforward and less time-consuming. Encouraging a culture of shared responsibility among staff for administrative tasks can distribute the workload evenly. Also, engaging in periodic training sessions on efficient paperwork management and organisational skills can help staff manage their administrative duties more effectively without relying heavily on digital tools.

Digital care management platforms can be a lifesaver in this regard. These platforms offer features like electronic care planning, automated reporting, and streamlined documentation. Care professionals can use mobile apps to create care plans and record care delivery tasks on the go, reducing the need for manual paperwork. By automating as many administrative tasks as possible, you not only save time but also reduce the risk of errors associated with manual data entry. This streamlining of administrative processes can lead to significant cost savings in terms of staff hours and paperwork expenses.

Ensuring compliance and quality

It goes without saying that achieving efficiency should never come at the expense of quality care. However actually balancing these two aspects is a delicate task that requires careful planning. Neglecting compliance and quality can lead to costly consequences, including fines and reputation damage.

Example: Consider a scenario where an oversight in compliance leads to a breach of regulatory standards during a care visit - then imagine that it took over a week to log, manage and react to that oversight. This can result in severe penalties from regulators and damage to your business's reputation. By implementing digital tools that support standardised visit protocols and keep everyone in the loop at all times, you can easily ensure that compliance and quality are maintained not matter the client or visit.

Achieving compliance and quality in care delivery can also be supported through regular in-person training sessions and workshops. These can focus on regulatory standards, best practices, and case studies to highlight the importance of compliance in care delivery. Regular internal audits and peer reviews can provide a platform for ongoing assessment and improvement in care quality. Creating a feedback loop with care recipients and their families can also offer direct insights into the quality of care and areas needing improvement.

The best care management platforms come with built-in features for care planning, task creation, and - most importantly - quality assurance as a standard. These tools enable you to create standardised visit protocols that ensure essential tasks are consistently performed during care visits. By making these protocols accessible to all care professionals, you ensure that the quality of care remains high while optimising your operations.

In conclusion, inefficiency can silently erode your profits in the domiciliary care business. However, by assessing care visit efficiency, maximising staff utilisation, monitoring medication management, reducing administrative overheads, and ensuring compliance and quality, you can identify and address inefficiencies that may be costing you money. Embracing digital tools and solutions is a key way to achieve these improvements. Remember that the consequences of inefficiency can be detrimental, both financially and in terms of the quality of care provided. By taking proactive steps and leveraging technology, you can safeguard your financial health while delivering exceptional care to your recipients.

Interested in seeing how Birdie works in the real world? Click the button below to hear from our partner Numada Homecare on ‘How Numada Homecare got their time back while taking on more care packages’.

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