Finding the right balance for your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule is critical. Having too small of an overnight team can lead to slow call responses and delays between an alert and checking on a resident. Overstaffing, on the other hand, can be costly — and you may end up underutilizing your workers. Your facility has unique staffing needs based on your current facility size, available technology, and best practices. Utilize these tips help you more effectively assess your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule. 

1. Pay Attention to Staffing Regulations

Long-term care facilities must provide adequate staff to meet the needs of your residents. Your specific staff requirements can depend on the number of residents you have and their specific levels of care. Tracking that information through a staffing app can make it easier to keep up with the specific regulations in your area. You can also gain new insights into how they apply to your residents and facility.

2. Track Staff Utilization

One of the most effective ways to reassess your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule needs is taking a look at your current staff utilization. Do your employees frequently feel overworked or stressed, especially during overnight shifts? Do you have employees standing around with little to do on a regular basis? 

Track employee utilization and how they’re spending their time during their shifts. You can use a staffing app or ask employees and their supervisors to report:

  • The tasks they take care of during their shifts
  • How many employees were on that shift
  • How they think those factors impact patient care

Pay particular attention to what tasks staff members take care of during their shifts. Are staff members constantly on the go, with nonessential tasks getting put off until later? Or are staff members able to easily take care of the tasks they need to get done over the course of their shifts? Equally importantly, are staff members looking for work to do during their shifts? Too little to do can lead to low employee engagement and make it just as difficult to keep good, solid employees on your shifts as having too much work to do. You do not want your employees to feel as though they aren’t accomplishing their goals or are unable to provide adequate patient care.

3. Note Response Times

You never want a resident in your long-term care facility waiting too long to receive care from your staff, whether that resident has a medical issue or needs assistance getting out of bed, going to the toilet, and getting dressed. Typically, nurses and other staff members will have rounds that they perform in the morning and evening, helping residents get ready for the day or get ready for bed. 

It’s normal for there to be some delays during these busy times. But your residents should never have to wait too long for the attention they need. Track response times on a regular basis and set attainable goals. How long does it take between a resident indicating a need and a staff member responding? If you note your response times increasing, it could be time to increase the number of staff you have on hand. 

4. Utilize a Staffing Agency When Needed

Sometimes, you may temporarily need more employees in your long-term care facility. A staffing agency can provide you with those short-term employees. They can come in on a limited basis and take care of whatever tasks need to be done. Working with a staffing agency on a regular basis can help you create a better relationship with the agency. This will also provide that agency with more information about exactly what type of employees you need. 

5. Use Effective Caregiving Tools

Using the right caregiver tools can make a huge difference in your ability to track and report the care you’re providing to your patients. You can also use RCare Mobile to track ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living, including the time spent actually taking care of specific patients and their needs. 

Over time, this can provide you with much better insight into how many staff members you need on a shift at any given time. RCare’s nurse call reporting, for example, allows administrators to track response times and clearly identify scheduling gaps. You can even get more insight into times when your facility is overstaffed. 

RCare can offer the insights you need to help achieve better balance with your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule. You can leverage RCare reporting to identify where additional employees might be needed, and get a better look at how you are able to respond to and care for the residents in your facility.