January 7, 2021

Managing Long-Term Care Staff Schedules Amid COVID-19


Long-term care facility administrators have long struggled with managing the complex schedules of nurses, medical technicians, therapists, and support staff. In today’s world, where COVID-19 has resulted in staff shortages and higher patient acuity, ensuring every shift is properly staffed is even more challenging. To address those issues and others, many senior living facilities are implementing employee scheduling software. Here are some specific senior living staff scheduling challenges and how scheduling software helps address them.

Proper Nurse-to-Patient Ratios

Whether they staff nurses based on shift requirements, census count or by patient acuity, senior living managers must ensure staffing levels are met according to their facility’s unique criteria. Proper staffing levels are more critical than ever among the volatile circumstances resulting from the pandemic. Employee scheduling software automatically performs staffing calculations to help ensure accurate nurse-to-patient ratios. This takes the burden of manually performing these calculations off nurse managers – giving them more time to focus on more paramount responsibilities.

Nurse Burnout and Unnecessary Overtime

Working in a senior living facility can be a demanding profession. Compounded by the physical and emotional toll of coping with the pandemic, it can easily lead to fatigue and burnout. In addition to ensuring proper nurse-to-patient ratios, which helps lower stress for nurses, scheduling software also calculates the total hours each employee is scheduled, which helps reduce unnecessary overtime. A system that allows employees to appear on multiple schedules and provides visibility between locations and departments can further reduce unnecessary overtime by providing the total hours scheduled across the entire organization.

Tracking Credentials and Training

To manage patient care most effectively, it is imperative that the right people are in the appropriate places at the correct times. Some scheduling software systems track employee attributes such as skills, certifications, and training. This allows managers and supervisors to quickly identify and notify a select group of proficient employees to ensure the most qualified individuals are scheduled at all times. This also helps facilities maintain compliance and avoid missing a license or certification expiration or renewal.

Filling Open Shifts

As the coronavirus spreads, large numbers of long-term care staff members are quarantining or remaining at home to care for loved ones – contributing to often pre-existing staff shortages. This means managers and supervisors can spend hours making phone call after phone call to fill open shifts. Some scheduling software allows managers to quickly email or text individuals, all employees, or a group of qualified and available individuals to fill open shifts. In times of crisis, an alternative communication platform, such as a mobile app, which can be accessed from any mobile device, is also a beneficial provision.

Learn how ScheduleAnywhere meets long-term care facilities’ unique scheduling requirements and  cuts time spent on scheduling by up to 75%.

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