Allocating the Right Domiciliary Care Staff to Service Users – How Hard Can it be?

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Are you struggling to keep staff training and qualifications up to date?

I’m sure nobody in a health and social care business needs reminding that carer training and qualifications are becoming an increasingly intense area of scrutiny. For domiciliary care businesses there is the added complexity of travel time and cost, which have to be considered if you want to deploy key staff as efficiently as possible. For some home care providers keeping track of staff qualifications and allocating appropriately trained staff to visits is virtually a full time job – yet for others it represents no more than a few minutes work each month – why the difference?

The press seems to be full of stories related to training, skills and qualifications, and what these mean for standards of home care. The new National Minimum Training Standards are an attempt to lay down a foundation of good basic standards expected from anyone delivering care services. Meanwhile quality and continuity of care continue to make headlines in the national press and CQC inspection reports.

The Challenge for Domiciliary Care

Having clear minimum expectations for all providers should be welcomed – it makes things clearer and fairer. But for the majority of reputable providers the issue isn’t so much with consistency in induction and basic training, it’s more about maintaining appropriate standards in higher levels of specialist care and deploying trained resources in the most efficient and effective way.

It’s probably worth reminding ourselves of some of the CQC Essential Standards that relate to qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience.

Staff are expected to:

  • Have relevant qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience to carry out their role.
  • Where this is not possible and does not impact on the safe delivery of the service the staff member agrees to work towards gaining the skills and qualifications necessary.
  • Have their qualifications, knowledge and skills reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they keep up to date with current practice.

In my view, the days of providers trying to manage all of this manually are numbered – and that’s not just because we provide management software for domiciliary care businesses. The management task is becoming too complex and the stakes associated with not being able to demonstrate to the CQC and funding bodies that you have robust processes in place are too high. Increasingly, providers are looking for an automated solution.

What Should A Domiciliary Care Management System Deliver?

There are options for automating domiciliary care management so it’s worth being clear about what you want your chosen system to deliver. Here are a few things that should take many of the headaches out of staff rosters and domiciliary care administration

  • Your system should be easy to install and set up. You’re running a care business, not an IT consultancy so you shouldn’t need to be IT experts to run the system.
  • Your system should make it easy to upload, maintain and monitor details of staff qualifications, with automatic reminders when renewal or refresher training is due.
  • Your system should be flexible so that it’s easy to upgrade to additional features when business needs demand it.
  • For a given type of visit your system should pre-select carers to give you a list of only suitably qualified and experienced individuals.
  • Your system should automatically display the distance from a carer’s base to the visit location and show how many times each carer has already visited the service user. You can then make an informed judgement to balance continuity of care and overall efficiency considerations.

Above all, your system should be a cost-effective solution and you should be able to more than recover the licence fee through more efficient working.

If you call me on 08455 44 23 11 I’d be happy to explain how our CareForIT package measures up against these criteria and I can give you an online demonstration. To give you a quick indication we were recently contacted by a delighted client who had just managed to complete their monthly staff roster in less than 10 minutes. Imagine what your business could do with all that extra time!

To find out more: domiciliary care management software

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