Most companies and communities are still using a pencil and big old wide lined and columned sheet of paper to do their scheduling.

There hardly exists a skilled nursing facility that still uses paper for medical records, billing or MDS, largely thanks to federal government mandates.  Most assisted living and independent living communities are doing their billing and accounting electronically and many are moving to electronic resident care and medication records. But Here is What’s Weird . . . Regardless of level of care, in the post-acute world most companies and communities are still using a pencil and big old wide lined and columned sheet of paper to do their scheduling. This means each week someone spends many hours on what amounts to something of a jigsaw puzzle where the puzzle pieces are human team members, all in an attempt to have perfect coverage, meet team members’ wants and needs and not create overtime problems.

The Problem

As long as nothing goes wrong it is possible to have the puzzle look perfect for a day, a few days or maybe even a week.  The problem is that nothing is static. In truth, as soon as the schedule is published it becomes obsolete.  The resident mix changes, team members call in sick or, even worse, just don’t show up for work.  The result is new headaches.  Who is available to work?  Who can be called in without causing overtime problems?  Who can be called off without causing undue hardship?

Being Strategic

The biggest problems come when staffing adjustments need to be made “on the fly”.  In order to do the very best job of staffing efficiently and serving residents with the care and service they deserve, it becomes important to be able to look at staffing patterns, allowing for  predicting needs and plugging holes.  While a human can have some sense of these things, that sense can be skewed by personal biases and faulty memories.  And, typically, that sense resides in a single staff member.

Why OnShift is Important to You

OnShift is the newest Senior Housing Forum Partner.  They provide a cloud based program for scheduling staff, specifically designed for the post-acute marketplace.  The software is easy to use and can massively reduce the hours and cost spent creating and modifying staffing schedules.  It helps with call off notifications and adjustments and identifies the best alternates when someone calls in sick or doesn’t show up for work.  It also provides great analytics that allow you to better manage your team members and your labor budget, both within and across communities.  Finally, OnShift integrates with time keeping, clinical and HR computer systems. Over the coming months we will be working with OnShift to bring you stories about how senior living communities and skilled nursing facilities are optimizing their team utilization.  We hope you will check them out. Steve Moran

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