With an aging population and difficulties with staff retention affecting the whole sector, care providers are constantly working to keep good talent. This is something that Chosen Care Group, a London home care provider has put a great deal of thought into. They looked into how they could change processes to create the best working environment possible for their care teams and ultimately, increase retention and satisfaction rates from service users.
Understanding the issues
Initial feedback from care workers found that unpredictable rotas, long distances between appointments and home locations, and last minute alterations to working hours were the main reasons cited as reasons for leaving the organisation and often, the home care sector as a whole. Chosen Care Group took this feedback on board, and looked at how implementing a new scheduling system could address this.
After looking at models from across the world, Sheela Antony, Quality Assurance Manager, came across the highly effective Dutch model of care provision. Sheela and the Chosen Care team used this as a basis from which to design, develop and implement a Compatible Scheduling Scheme.
A pilot team was created, and after receiving positive feedback from both care workers and service users, the scheme was rolled out to the six London boroughs Chosen Care Group operates in across East London.
How it works
The scheme works better with smaller teams, so Chosen Care’s teams consist of around a dozen carers. Each team is concentrated over a small geographical location, and meets monthly to discuss schedule preferences, taking into account service users’ needs and carers’ personal commitments. The scheduling meetings allow flexible working schedules, whilst ensuring the standard of care remains high with visits being organised and punctual.
Carers are also able to swap and share shifts too, and coordinators are encouraged to take a step back from fully controlling rotas, instead overseeing the process and allowing carers to have more responsibility for their working patterns.
Sheela Samy, who implemented the new system, talks about why it’s effective: “It’s about making it a relationship, trusting staff with their schedules and giving them flexibility as much as possible.
“Working in groups also has a huge impact – carers get to know their colleagues and feel part of a team, which is not always the case in the domiciliary care sector. As a result, care workers are able to work in patterns that work for them, and are much more committed to their shifts because they have been part of the decision making.”
Chosen Care Group’s Compatible Scheduling scheme has been a great success, resulting in a 99% retention rate, compared to the homecare sector as a whole, which had retention rates of just 39% in 2016.
Crucially, happier staff and increased retention mean that service users have the opportunity to establish relationships with their carers and vice versa, which results in better, more personalised care and focus on prevention, early intervention and a holistic view of the patient and their family/carers.
Testimonies from both care workers and service users, higher staff retention rates and an increase in word of mouth recruitment are evidence that Chosen Care Group’s Compatible Scheduling Scheme really does work. Following the success of the scheme, Sheela Antony was also awarded the Innovator Award at the Great London Care Awards for the scheme. She says:
“I am so pleased with the success of the scheme and I very much hope that other domiciliary providers will consider implementing it – there are many great carers in the sector, it should be our job to create the best work environment we can whilst at the same time continuing to ensure personalised, high-quality care.”
– Sheela Antony, Compatible Rounds, Founder and Director of UCC