There’s been plenty in the news recently about zero hours contracts and certainly these are a fact of life in many domiciliary care businesses. It isn’t that businesses like them particularly – it’s more to do with how uncertainties over funding and contracting make it increasingly difficult to guarantee care workers a fixed number of hours work each week. As zero hours contracts seem to be here to stay is there a way that they can be less painful for employers and staff?
For care workers the chief complaint is that it’s hard to plan the rest of their life when they don’t know from one week to the next what hours they will be working. Home care businesses also experience difficulties with achieving continuity of care if there are no contracted hours when they know personnel will be available.
If processes for allocating care workers to assignments are week-to-week and manual, the level of frustration and dissatisfaction with zero hours contracts is likely to be greater. Here’s how modern domiciliary care management software could make the process less of a pain all round.
Scheduling is simple
Care worker assignments can be completed in minutes, automatically rolled over and modified from week to week, and viewed on a clear user interface. So it’s much easier to plan staff workloads several weeks in advance. Your care-worker team will have a much clearer idea of when and where they will be working so they can plan time with family and friends around known commitments.
Staff can update availability on-line
A system like CareForIt, which is designed to operate through secure internet access, means that care workers can easily update the system with times when they will not be available to work. This takes a lot of guesswork and assumptions out of the scheduling process.
It’s clearly more efficient to work on the basis of allocating staff time that you know is available than to allocate a care worker to an assignment, have them tell you they are unavailable and then try to find somebody else to take their place. Care workers can manage their availability weeks in advance so there are no surprises in store for the person managing staff rosters.
Continuity of Care
Temporarily assigning a different member of staff to a service user can be done in a controlled way through a few mouse clicks rather than as a last minute panic. And because all of the information you need is available within the system you can be certain that the replacement carer is suitably qualified and experienced to meet the needs of the service user – without having to wade through files of care plans and staff records.
While nobody particularly likes zero hours contracts, using modern domiciliary care management software such as CareForIt will at least make the process work more effectively for care businesses, care workers and service users.
What’s the experience of zero hours in your business? Do you use them and how much of a pain are they to manage?
Dan Farrell-Wright, CareForIT.
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