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Staffing is a major hurdle most home care agencies must face daily. It seems like if an agency isn’t working short-staffed, they are never quite fully-staffed and equipped to handle new clients or an emergency situation. It’s frustrating for the agency owners, other caregivers, and even the clients. While there hasn’t been a viable solution to staffing issues within the home care field in decades, real-time staffing is suddenly offering a new way to ensure home care organizations are able to successfully care for their clients without overwhelming their regular staff.

What Is Real-Time Staffing?

Thanks to technological advancements, real-time staffing is now a real possibility for home care agencies. The “Uberization” of caregiving gives health professionals the opportunity to expand their control over who they work for and where while giving agencies access to professionals who are already trained, vetted, and qualified.

Real-time staffing allows agencies to send out staffing requests to available and trained caregivers. The caregivers then receive the notification and have the opportunity to pick up the shift or decline it. Agencies can receive caregivers to cover their requests much faster than if they had to call their PRN roster individually.

Agency Benefits of Real-Time Staffing

Home care agencies who use real-time staffing benefit in multiple ways. Most notably, with the ability to staff cases in real time, home care agencies are able to increase revenue by staffing cases in a fraction of the time and with minimal preparation or staff planning. 

Other benefits for the agency can include:

  • Decreased turnover of full-time staff as they get the opportunity to take a vacation and recharge while real-time staffing technology covers their shifts
  • Quick and effective communication to multiple potential caregivers with only one request
  • Increased confidence of discharge planners and other referral professionals who know your home care agency can always meet the needs of new patients
  • Better client satisfaction and continuity of care
  • Increased retention of full-time staff thanks to reduced short-staff requests
  • Less stress when trying to navigate full-time staff call-offs due to illness
  • More flexibility to navigate daily staffing issues during “normal” days and during pandemic times

Caregiver Benefits of Real-Time Staffing

Real-time staffing truly benefits everyone, if it is done right. Caregivers can reap the benefits of real-time staffing, giving them the opportunity to pick and choose their own hours. Benefits for caregivers can include:

  • Decreased commute time to/from clients
  • Control over their own schedule
  • Opportunity to pick up additional shifts when they need the extra cash
  • Opportunity to choose cases based on their family’s schedule
  • Ability to decline shifts when they feel burnt out or when they need a break

Caregivers who work with a home care agency can also see benefits when the agency chooses a real-time staffing model. For example, full-time caregivers can actually get time off when it is approved and not feel bound to pick up more hours when their supervisor calls in a pinch.

The more caregivers benefit from real-time staffing, the more likely they are to continue to make themselves available to open shifts. The more caregivers available in the real-time staffing pool, the easier home care agencies can find qualified staff in their neighborhood.

Real-Time Staffing Solutions to Common Home Care Challenges

Some home care agencies have been slower to come around to trying out real-time staffing solutions because they have a large part-time or PRN pool. Unfortunately, these agencies are missing out on the effective solutions that real-time staffing models offer. 

Real-time staffing technology is not only more effective than using a PRN pool or staffing agency, it can also be quicker, less stressful, and even less expensive. Here are just a few ways home care agencies are using real-time staffing to make their business run more smoothly. 

Real-time staffing allows agencies to: 

  • Easily accept new or emergency discharges with a comprehensive care plan 
  • Fill a missed shift or fill in for a planned vacation among full-time staff
  • Spend less time on the phone trying to find coverage for the agency’s schedule and have more time to spend on staff development or client communication
  • Find eager caregivers who want to work shorter or less-frequent shifts, which are typically a nightmare to schedule
  • Be confident the caregiver who picks up a shift has fulfilled all required training and is ready to communicate effectively with the agency and with the client
  • Keep the agency compliant with all state, county, and federal regulatory boards in regards to staff training and communication
  • Ensure all care plans and instructions are readily available for any caregiver, and all while still remaining HIPAA complaint
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