While we are happily welcoming Easter and the long weekend, healthcare facilities are probably battling with staff rostering. According to the Victoria Healthcare Association, health service operating costs rise by 40%-60% during the Easter holiday. If a facility needs to engage with a staff agency to cover shifts, it will further increase their costs. In addition to the holiday, we are also entering flu season. There are almost 7000 influenza cases diagnosed so far this year, and we’re not in winter yet. For healthcare facilities, this presents both a possible workload increase and furthers their need for additional shift-workers, as healthcare workers are at increased risk of exposure to influenza.
Help your team to combat the flu season
Vaccination of healthcare workers is only recommended in Australia, not mandatory. And the uptake in healthcare facilities was historically low at about 50% (source). However, with some planning and social marketing, Alfred Health has successfully increased the voluntary uptake of staff influenza annual vaccination to 80%. Staff vaccination not only provides individual protection to your staff, it can also prevent massive outbreaks among the facility.
SMS as a rostering solution
Planning holiday cover and filling up shifts when someone is sick can be time consuming. SMS in this instance is the perfect solution. Instead of having the administration staff calling one staff member after another, a SMS can be sent to all staff at once and whoever replies first will get the shift. This process is not only much more efficient, it’s also fairer, as everyone will receive the SMS simultaneously and have the chance to take up the shift if they want to. Bupa Care Service Australia is one of our clients who’ve adopted SMS as their complete rostering solution. As one of the nurses reflected, “Using SMS has saved us time and effort which allows us to focus more time on caring for our residents.”
Engage your staff and keep them happy
Research studying staff retention and turnover in aged care facilities suggested that working conditions, support and culture are the most important reasons why workers leave, as opposed to the common belief that pay is the major factor. As an employer, you have more chances to retain your staff than you might think. It might not be your first thought, but the humble SMS can do a great job here, too. Several studies across different parts of the world have shown how SMS helps improve the performance of health workers and reduced the sense of isolation often experienced by caretakers. Bupa Berwick has also incorporated SMS as a staff engagement tool by sending motivational messages to their staff members. The messages are aimed to encourage them to continue their good work and remind them that their effort are appreciated. You can read the full story here on how Bupa Aged Care incorporates SMS into their staffing solution. If you would like to discuss how SMS can help you solve your staffing problem, give us a call at 1300 764 946.