According to a recent survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), almost 170,000 hours of home care was unable to be delivered per week in the first quarter of 2022 because of staff shortages.
The ADASS survey found that rising demand for the sector coupled with a growing complexity of care needs means that domiciliary care workers will struggle to cope with the increased pressure and more service users will go without the care they need.
How is this affecting care workers?
No day is ever the same for a home care worker, visiting a wide range of service users all with individual needs and preferences. Amongst this diversity however, one aspect we understand to be more and more prevalent is immediacy of care. With growing demand for social care and the expectation for quick responses, the need to multitask is a much-required skill.
Balancing the delivery of compassionate care with administration tasks, logging time and mileage all whilst keeping to their schedule are just some of the things a care worker needs to be on top of when visiting their clients.
Multitasking places a strain on care workers on its own, let alone factoring in the additional pressures identified in ADASS’s survey with care workers having to work harder and quicker to make up for staff shortages.
Digital technology can reduce the reliance on multitasking, as it gives care coordinators full visibility and the tools to better manage all aspects of a visit enabling care workers to focus on delivery.
What can a care workers day look like?
Sophie has been a domiciliary care worker for 5 years. She enjoys helping others and seeing how her clients’ progress throughout their time using the service. The organisation has implemented a new digital system to help manage the day-to-day logistics.
Sophie starts her day visiting a 78-year-old lady who has dementia. Viewing the care plan on her phone, Sophie knows how to locate the house and the tasks planned for the day. After logging her start time on the mobile app, Sophie greets her client and asks them how they slept. On the care plan this morning, the service user has requested a shower and to have her breakfast and lunch organised.
Sophie helps her client to access the bathroom and encourages her to choose what clothes she would like to wear today. After showering and getting ready, Sophie walks her client to the living room and goes to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, some breakfast and prepares lunch which is put in the fridge for later. Sophie also tidies the bedroom, gives the kitchen a quick clean and takes the bins outside, all whist monitoring her client.
Once all the care and domestic tasks are done, Sophie spares a few minutes to have a quick chat with the service user. She logs the tasks that were completed, and any changes noted in her client on the mobile app, but promptly needs to move onto the next individual who lives 4 miles away.
Jumping in the car, Sophie gets a notification from her care coordinator who tells her that the next client has been admitted to hospital this morning so won’t need a visit today. She is then placed on an alternative case with another care worker, as the individual needs two supporters to help with some physical care. Sophie looks through the care plan on her phone before setting off.
Sophie arrives a little late due to the rush hour traffic and meets the client’s wife at the door. Having a quick chat, Sophie logs her start time on the mobile app and gets to work helping with the service user, a 48-year-old disabled male. With her colleague, Sophie uses a hoist to move the client from his bed to his wheelchair. Chatting with the client, Sophie finds out about the day trip the family are taking today.
Whilst her colleague helps the client get ready, Sophie goes to prepare some equipment and medication he will need for the trip. Multitasking to try and save some time, Sophie speaks with the client’s wife, as the care plan mentions that they would like to make some scheduling changes for next week. Making a note of the changes to the plan, Sophie logs her end time and mileage and sets off for the next visit.
As you’ve seen, Sophie’s day has included multiple locations, clients, and individual issues. We have only covered the morning schedule. Her afternoon case load will be equally varied.
Sophie is good at multitasking; a staple skill she has developed whilst being a care worker. However, juggling tasks to fit all the care needs into such a tight schedule makes her feel as though she can’t give all her focus to her clients.
Having ways to make processes more efficient, like using the mobile app, means that any changes to the schedule or logging milage is quicker than it used to be when she would have to fill out paper forms.
Digital tools are the next step in bringing social care into the 21st Century. With plans to digitalise the sector by 2024, its worth thinking about the benefits technology can bring to your social care organisations.
Advanced’s Staffplan solution rosters your care workers according to client needs. Staffplan helps to keep your care staff in touch with their team whilst providing the tools to better manage planning and delivery of care.
Staffplan has the benefit of providing care workers with more freedom to spend with their clients so they can live independently, rather than spending time juggling the multiple administration tasks they have along the way.
“Staffplan is such a user-friendly system. It’s more than just figures on a screen. Care coordinators can spot gaps and it gives us much more control.” – James Back, Extra Hands Director
Explore our Staffplan solution, to digitally roster your home care workers, manage cases with improved scheduling processes whilst benefiting from integrated payroll and invoicing functionalities.