7 Essential Scheduling Tips for Home Health Agencies
Plus, efficient scheduling will make your back office team's work easier and potentially save them hours of time spent on admin-related tasks each week.
A few small changes can make a drastic improvement to your scheduling process. Keep reading for scheduling tips and best practices that will transform your business.
1. Match Clients and Caregivers Carefully
When matching clients and caregivers, you want to get it right the first time. It's better for the patient if they have a consistent schedule and caregiver. Otherwise, your team will have to spend additional time building trust and getting to know the client.
Match your caregivers and clients based on these factors:
It goes without saying that the caregiver needs to have the right skills for the service the client needs. However, don't restrict yourself to medical and clinical skills. For example, you could match an ESL client with a caregiver with ESL training.
Matching clients and caregivers based on location not only lessens travel time, but it may also mean more opportunities to connect on common ground, such as a shared community or background. To do this, try to allocate caregivers to clients who are geographically clustered or close to their home. We’ll share more on this factor later.
The relationship between the client and caregiver is crucial for a positive patient experience. Unfortunately, whether it's because of a personality clash, communication differences, or simply a client's preferences, sometimes a match isn't a good one.
Try to match clients and caregivers based on their personalities, communication styles, and shared areas of interest. Listen to feedback, and don't hesitate to rematch clients and carers if required.
2. Schedule Around Caregivers' Preferences
Many caregivers fit their home care work around other commitments, such as a second job, training and education, or caring for family members. Taking their preferences into account when scheduling will help your home care agency motivate and retain talented caregivers. In doing so, it will set you up for success.
Ask your caregivers to input their preferred shift dates and times into your scheduling software. Allow them to also bid for a shift or job. And where possible, support caregivers' requests for flexibility.
3. Limit Travel Time and Expenses
The less time your caregivers spend traveling to their home care visits, the more clients they can see, the lower your gas expenses will be, and the less stress caregivers will be under.
Make sure your scheduling is efficient. Ideally, clients that live nearby will be given appointments on the same shift. Track travel time and expenses, too, so that you can see where you need to fine-tune your schedules.
4. Craft a Schedule That Works for Everybody
Your schedule should suit the needs of your company, your staff members, and your clients alike. While your biggest scheduling-related business concern will be efficiency and low gas expenses, caregivers and patients will want a schedule that fits around their lives too.
Remember that although clients in senior care may be more flexible with their appointments, they will have an already established daily and weekly routine. You’ll need to schedule visits at a time that works for them. So when you create a schedule, make sure to take a per-client and per-caregiver view before signing off on it.
5. Get New Employees Scheduled Quickly
The quicker your new caregivers are added to the calendar, the better. They'll appreciate immediately having work and will be less likely to accept offers from competing agencies and providers.
To achieve this, it's crucial that your onboarding and scheduling process is as efficient as possible. Automate where you can to save your team hours of time.
6. Give Caregivers Enough Notice
As soon as the schedule is on the calendar, contact your caregivers to let them know. Ideally, this will be in a low-effort way, such as an SMS push notification to their cell phone. Don't make team members check a website or, even worse, an email, Excel spreadsheet, or pen-and-paper document.
Scheduling and notifying your staff as quickly as possible will help you avoid no-shows or caregiver complaints. For guaranteed success, give your team enough time to contact you in case there are issues you need to address.
7. Take Advantage of an Automated Scheduler
Building schedules and amending them can be time consuming processes, but schedulers specifically designed for home care agencies can be the answer. In fact, scheduling software can save you hours of admin work. Plus, it has the benefits of making scheduling an effort-free process while giving you control over individual shifts.
Look for a scheduler that allows caregivers to input their preferred shifts, as well as enabling you to assign multiple clients per shift and set up both recurring and group shifts.
Tools That Will Make the Scheduling Process Pain-Free
Efficient scheduling is key to running a successful home care agency. The right tools will enable you to not just schedule quicker and easier, but will also ensure that your schedules meet the needs of clients and caregivers alike.
ShiftCare's automated scheduler will help you build a schedule in minutes. Your caregivers can input their preferred shifts via a mobile phone app. You can create group schedules, recurring schedules, and split shifts, as well as viewing the shifts of an individual caregiver or client.
Plus, ShiftCare is far more than just a scheduler. It also comes with accounting integration and a host of compliance, patient, and caregiver management tools for home care providers.
ShiftCare will help you manage the admin work so your agency can focus on providing quality home care. Plus, it's intuitive to use — your staff won't even need to attend training (although we do have an extensive range of videos, guides, and webinars just in case).
Try ShiftCare for free to discover how it can make your scheduling simple and straightforward.