Tag Archive for: Senior Living

Reassessing Staffing Schedule

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.

feedback for improved care

Senior living communities serve the incredibly important purpose of helping elder residents stay as independent as possible while getting the assistance they need for daily tasks. It can be a delicate balancing act. In the U.S., over 1.3 million people over the age of 65 live in a long-term care community of some sort. Staff members strive to provide the best possible quality of life for each resident in these communities they call home. As in any industry, it’s important to collect feedback to ensure that we are not missing the mark. It sounds easy enough. In fact you may have residents who are very comfortable regularly providing input and advice. However, some residents may be resistant to providing opinions, or responses may be filtered and incomplete. Without this feedback it can be difficult to get a complete picture of overall satisfaction from residents. 

Obtaining elder resident feedback is a valuable tool for:

Formal surveys may be ineffective with this audience. Instead, try these tips to help routinely request feedback from elder residents.

Use Conversations as a Tool to Collect Elder Resident Feedback

When collecting feedback, your first instinct might be to create a survey. But all too often, this can lead to canned responses that provide limited insight. Instead, consider the usefulness of simple conversation. When a familiar staff member inquires about the quality of special foods, enjoyable activities during the day, and how a resident is feeling, valuable feedback can be gathered to determine if there is any room for improvement.

Many residents enjoy having amicable relationships with staff members and will open up when provided the opportunity. Instead of using questionnaires periodically, encouraging staff members to ask questions during their visits can provide valuable feedback about gaps in care or other areas of dissatisfaction. Adding a checklist to a daily or weekly paperwork can remind staff members to initiate these important conversations. When residents are given regular opportunities to share their feelings about their daily life, staff members are more likely to learn where minor changes could create major improvements.

Ask Targeted Questions

If someone asks you if you like living at your home, you’d probably say yes. But as much as you love your home, there would likely be some things you would want to change. Instead of simply asking residents if they enjoy living in the community, create a list of specific topics to bring up naturally in conversation. Factors that impact their quality of life can range from call response time to enjoying a favorite meal. Use these examples to initiate simple conversations that will provide insight into your residents and community:

  • Daily Life: Have you interacted with your friends here today? What activities do you enjoy here? When was the last time you got to go outside?
  • Health Care: How are you feeling today? Do you have any issues you’re concerned about? Do our nurses and other staff members respond quickly when you call?
  • Diet: What did you have to eat today? Did you like it? What’s the best thing we serve here? What’s the worst thing we serve here? What do you wish we could add to the menu?
  • General Satisfaction: What’s your favorite thing about our community? What do you like the least about staying here? Do you like your apartment? How could we improve it?

Create a Resident Council

There always residents who are more comfortable sharing their opinions than other. These advocates have deep relationships with others throughout the community and can be a great resource for more detailed feedback. Resident councils are becoming more and more frequent in eldercare communities. They are a great way to solicit feedback from influential members of the community and they help to get elders more directly involved in their care.  These groups can be helpful for planning events, as well as providing general feedback and advice.  They can also be a useful means to share information throughout the community. If you are looking for a more direct and structured way to gather information directly from the residents, a resident council could be the answer.

Involve Family Members

Family members and other visitors are a great resource for deeper insight into any thoughts or concerns regarding overall care. The purpose of surveying residents isn’t to receive 5-star reviews. The goal is to use feedback to improve the quality of life in the community. With this goal in mind, family members can become natural advocates to help lead to positive changes. Whether residents enjoy face-to-face visits or telephone conversations with their loved ones, their families and friends have insights your staff might not. Talking to them can be a valuable opportunity to gather information about residents’ needs and opinions.

Start Incorporating Elder Resident Feedback Into Your Business Processes

Feedback is an essential part of growth and improvement in any business. However, it’s particularly important in senior care facilities where residents may feel their opinions go unheard. When feedback is honest and complete, it can provide valuable sources of information that allow you to keep a consistent measure of the quality of care within your establishment. Browse our blog to learn more about the ways RCare can help you improve the quality of care for both residents and staff members in your long-term care facility.

Best Little Nurse Call System

That is not the question. The question is When?

It’s your first week on the job for a small caregiving staff at a 50-bed skilled nursing community. The intimate and family-like feeling of the community is what drew you in to begin with. And so far, you have met almost all of the residents and you like the small team of carers that you work with.

RPhone for the BCube has the I Got It Feature

The RPhone, with its unique “I Got It” feature

But, there is one thing that is frustrating to you. When multiple calls come in from residents, you are given no information on what to expect, what to bring and how urgent it is. On this Saturday evening, you receive two calls within minutes of each other, from Rooms 101 and 134. It could be a fall, a request for help to get out of bed or just someone needing a glass of water. The readout on the caregivers’ pagers simply shows the time of the call with a room number. You wonder whether someone is already handling the calls or perhaps most importantly, which resident do you prioritize to check on first?

The problem is that you need some more information to properly prioritize the calls. But you just don’t have it. You don’t know if it’s an emergency, or the resident history, or what to bring along, or if they happen to have allergies you should know about. You’re stuck in an impossible situation. You know you can’t possibly provide the best care without having the facts. So what to do?

Well the call from Room 101 came in first, so that’s the one you answer. But, your coworker is also there when you get there. Turns out Ruth accidentally pressed the button. Now two of you have responded to this non-emergency situation simultaneously, while Henry in Room 134 has slipped in the bathroom, is extremely frightened, and nobody is there to assist him.

RCare's Pretty Pretty Pendant and the BCube

Pretty Pretty Pendants work with any RCare nurse call system, including the new BCube for small facilities

If you work in a larger facility, you may have the benefit of a high-tech call system that can help you sort that all out. High-end advanced nurse call systems, like RCare’s flagship solution called the RCube, sends you all of the information you need to various communication devices, lighting platforms or even to nurse call console stations. Communities can go one step better and use secured, encrypted mobile devices such as the RCare RPhone to securely receive all information and have two-way communication between the caregiving staff, administration and even to the residents.

You can talk to the resident, gauge the situation, bring the correct supplies, reassure that you’re on the way, and prioritize. These RPhones also allow caregiving staff to claim responsibility using the “I Got it” feature, informing the rest of the staff that you’re responding to this call, eliminating duplicate efforts and ensuring accountability.

Around half of all skilled nursing facilities in the U.S. have fewer than 120 beds. That’s a lot of hard-working, compassionate caregivers who have inadequate tools to provide care, and a lot of seniors who don’t benefit from new caregiving technology and improved response times.  

But because you work in a smaller facility, you simply don’t have this kind of high end technology. Instead, you are stuck with a low-information nurse call system that gives you beeping pagers and loud intercom messages. It’s really not fair to your residents and to the caregivers striving to provide top-notch quality care. So, If the technology is available, why don’t smaller facilities use it? It’s because high-end, advanced nurse call technology is simply unaffordable for small campuses.

Well, that is until now.

Introducing the RCare BCube: Best Little Nurse Call System Ever. Designed, customized and scaled for the smallest skilled and assisted living communities, with all of the features of the big time advanced nurse call systems, at a fraction of the price. Now, even the smallest senior living communities can afford to have the best nurse call technology for their staff and their residents.

So to BCube or not to BCube?

That’s never been the question. The real question is, how soon can I get it installed?

The RCare BCube. All the monitoring, communication and reporting features of our large flagship RCare advanced nurse call system, scaled and priced for a smaller facility.