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Scheduling issues & the impact on caregiver turnover [webinar recap]

Scheduling Issues & the Impact on Caregiver Turnover Webinar

Caregiver turnover is a common issue for home care agencies and can become a major concern if not addressed. When it comes to the underlying causes of poor retention, many of us look first at issues like pay, benefits, the challenges of the work, or the travel burden of all the driving caregivers need to do.

However, one factor often overlooked is scheduling and the impact it can have on caregiver turnover.

The scheduler has a vital relationship with your agency’s caregivers. Indeed, they are often the main point of contact for caregivers who rarely come into the office. Of course, schedulers are responsible for assigning shifts, which means they have a major impact on caregiver satisfaction – and retention.

We recently sat down with some experienced professionals in the home care industry to discuss the impact that scheduling issues have on caregiver turnover and what home health care agencies can do to address them.

Our panel was made up of Courtney Penn, Client Growth Lead for the Transcend Strategy Group; Shihwan Chung, President of MedTec Healthcare & Private Duty; and our own Chase Potter, Vice President of Professional Services here at AlayaCare.

We’ve compiled their advice into this blog post and you can catch up with the full recording of the roundtable here.

Why do scheduling issues occur?

The scheduler job is a challenging one, with many different balls to juggle.

Without the right processes and technology in place to support schedulers and other office staff, it can become a very reactive role, with little time to concentrate on building relationships or thinking proactively about their responsibilities.

This is what Shihwan Chung found when he first started at MedTec. Schedulers overworked and simply didn’t have the right enablers in place to do their jobs efficiently.

Courtney Penn agrees. She saw schedulers struggle to work with inadequate scheduling software and resort to time-consuming manual workarounds.

Communication too can be all over the place, with some home care providers still using snail mail to communicate schedules to clients and caregivers.

Another unintended consequence of the lack of tools or training is that schedulers end up keeping a lot of information about the preferences of caregivers, patients, and their families in spreadsheets – or even in their own heads.

Not only is this an obvious business risk for the agency if a scheduler resigns, but it also makes matching caregivers to patients more time-consuming than it needs to be.

4 benefits of optimizing scheduled visits according to Choice Health Care

How do scheduling issues affect caregiver turnover?

As we’ve seen, schedulers play an essential role in how a home care agency operates. Overworked and with no access to the right tools, this has a knock-on effect on caregiver experience.

One obvious consequences of schedulers relying on their own knowledge for caregiver patient matching is an unbalanced schedule.

To fill a shift, schedulers will, understandably, reach out first to caregivers they know. Those who are reliable and likely to say yes.

However, this has two main impacts:

  1. That small pool of caregivers become chronically overworked from consistent asks to pick up extra shifts. In the long run, they are so exhausted that they leave.
  2. New caregivers and others who want more shifts don’t get given the hours they want. They eventually leave too. This creates a preventable turnover issue.

Overworked schedulers also simply don’t have the time they need to focus on retaining caregivers. They often focusing on caregiver recruitment to address turnover instead.

So many caregivers fall out of contact simply because of lack of communication or processes around identifying likely churn. This can have a major impact on your agency’s turnover rate.

What can you do to reduce scheduling issues at your home care agency?

We’ve looked at some of the consequences of not addressing scheduling issues and how this can impact caregiver turnover. Now, let’s turn our attention to some of the solutions.

Automate repetitive tasks

The Alayacare team spent a lot of time with schedulers to understand the issues they were facing in the office. They saw a lot of time wasted on repetitive tasks. This time could be better spent focusing on relationship building and addressing caregiver turnover.

As a result, Chase Potter wants home health care agencies to go to war on repetitive tasks. By leveraging the right software solutions, many of these tasks can be automated. This can free up a huge amount of time to spend on tasks that need a human touch.

Leverage AI appropriately

Similarly, technology can help to address the time-consuming task of allocating the right shifts to the right caregivers. We looked earlier at how many schedulers end up keeping a vast amount of information about caregiver preferences in their heads, or in spreadsheets no one else can access.

When this information is stored instead on a suitable platform, AI technology can assist with matching available caregivers to vacant visits. This makes the scheduler’s task quicker and easier, but it also helps to address workload balance across your agency’s caregivers. Thus, reducing turnover and increasing caregiver satisfaction and well-being.

Support soft skills

There are some things technology can’t do, and these are often the areas where you can support your schedulers to shine. To do their job well, schedulers need essential soft skills like communication, time management, and conflict resolution.

Managing someone’s care can be highly sensitive, so schedulers need to have empathy and compassion to work successfully with both patients and caregivers. Unfortunately, the importance of developing these soft skills is often overlooked under the demands of the day-to-day work.

However, if time can be freed up by investing in the right tools and developing the right processes, schedulers have more space to dedicate to these skills.

Training in soft skills should also be a top priority for your agency – not just when a new hire joins but throughout their time with you.

Free up time to focus on caregiver retention

Schedulers play so many different roles that they can rarely concentrate on reengaging inactive caregivers. This is another area where investing in the right technology can help.

When repetitive tasks are automated, schedulers have more time to give to retaining caregivers and reducing your turnover rate. They can reach out to employees who haven’t been active recently, listen to any concerns, and encourage caregivers to pick up appropriate shifts by making them feel valued and respected.

Technology can help by freeing up time to focus on retention, but can also support your agency by allowing you to easily identify inactive caregivers or those who are at risk of churn. It can even automate some of the re-engagement process by using triggers and workflows.

Find out more about the impact of scheduling issues on caregiver turnover and how you can mitigate this issue by watching the recording of our roundtable:

  

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