School’s in full swing at this point, which likely means germs are spreading and sickness is putting a strain on your home care agency workflows. You’re not alone in feeling the strain, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone on an island left to deal with these issues on your own. The Rosemark customer care team is available to provide guidance to help you prepare for situations like these.caregiver holding a cell phone displaying the Rosemark caregiver app


Utilizing Home Care Software to Save Your Sanity

The first step in saving your sanity is to make sure you have a really clear system in place for managing caregiver call-offs. Make sure your home care agency workflows include providing your staff with the tools they need to quickly reschedule shifts. Being able to edit small time offs or inactive periods such as holidays is valuable, especially during cold and flu season.

That’s where having a home care software partner like Rosemark comes in handy. Your operations software should have the tools you need to quickly and easily send out Shift Offers and edit schedules as needed.


Have Honest Talks with your Staff about the Hectic Holiday Season

We recommend agencies have preemptive conversations with their staff reminding them that, due to the season, the last few months of the year are bound to be more hectic. Along those lines, it’s important that administrators ask their caregivers to be open to working on days they don’t normally work. 

Be sure to explain that this request is simply due to seasonal illness and holidays. Communicating to your caregivers that their holiday time off requests and sick days will also impact others, so flexibility is appreciated.


Planning is the Key

Communicating with caregivers before the holidays about when they will need time off is an important part of the planning process. Agencies should have a clear process and deadline for any such requests.

In addition to deadlines for agency staff, clients should receive alerts via bulk message that the holiday season is upcoming. It’s expected that your clients will be celebrating, so they should understand your staff will want to take part in traditional festivities as well. 

Giving them a gentle reminder can go a long way in preempting any negative feelings clients may have if they are asked to make changes to their normal routines.


Incentives Help Home Care Agency Workflows WORK

Caregivers are in this industry to provide great care. That is their singular focus. It’s not a high-paying profession, but one born out of need and responded to by compassionate people.

As the work is often demanding, it can be a smart move for an agency to provide incentives for overtime, weekends, or difficult shifts, especially during the busy holiday season. Those incentives could provide just the momentum caregivers need to pick up extra shifts during the busy season.  

Make sure that you’re taking advantage of the tools your scheduling software provides to add things like holiday and weekend bonuses. This can make shift work for your caregivers more rewarding.


A New Year Transition

If agencies are preparing to train new staff or add new features to their software, we recommend avoiding the busy holiday season. As busy as the season is for most people, both professionally and personally, waiting until after the new year often produces better results.

Should your agency decide to move forward with training during the holidays, Rosemark has plenty of self-training materials available to help new hires get started and move at their own pace. Reach out to your customer care team to schedule formal training when staff returns from their holiday time off and business gets back to normal.


Customizable Scheduling Tools

Let’s discuss caregiver availability and time off requests. 

Agencies need to have a clear window into how to use caregiver availability. They need to know how to set up inactive periods with clear reasons for why an employee is inactive.

These reasons provide a simple and easy way to review an employee’s history and ensure time off requests are respected. 

Most scheduling software allows for customized caregiver availability. Two reasons one might use these features include:

  1. Time off requests for small periods a caregiver requests off
    a. These might include holidays or other seasonal events
  2. Times when a caregiver is available that is out of the norm for their schedule
    a. For example, a caregiver might usually be unavailable on Saturdays but they suddenly have a few Saturdays coming up they’d be willing to work

This customized availability in the planner will help keep your schedulers on top of things during hectic seasons.


Utilize Shift Offers for Better Workflows

If your caregivers are not using the Rosemark Caregiver App, they really should. It’s an incredibly helpful tool that provides better clarity about their day. 

Agencies can send out Shift Offers through the app, allowing caregivers to easily see and accept available shifts. This is a tool that can be especially helpful during the cold and flu season as well as during the holidays.

If your agency is not currently using this feature, please reach out to the Rosemark customer care team to learn more.


Use Actions in Rosemark to Keep up with Time Off Requests

If an agency doesn’t have a great process for keeping up with time off requests, we suggest using the Actions feature in Rosemark. Here’s a quick and easy way to handle those requests:

  1. Log the request as a Completed Action, adding a note explaining what the caregiver or client requested. 
  2. After logging the call, put either an inactive period on the client or the caregiver, based on the circumstances.  Remember that you can add a reason to any inactive period so you and your staff are clear about why the status change was made
  3. Set up a reminder for the agency that the caregiver or client will be out by creating a Pending Action
    a. Pending Actions appear in the Pending Actions window, providing staff with the reminder during that specified time frame.

Remember, Pending Actions can be used to alert the agency that something is coming up. This is a simple and easy way to set reminders about upcoming shift changes and time off requests, as well as to include documentation in Completed Actions related to when and why requests were made.


Ask Your Partners About Their Holiday Hours

Just as your agency is likely to celebrate holidays in some capacity, your software partner and other vendors will likely have special hours or spot closures for holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s. 

It’s important to make a note of their availability so your agency is not caught off guard if something pops up during those windows. It’s also important to ask if your vendors have on-call support during the holidays even if their office is closed.


A Few Last Things

Most agencies understand the importance of setting up bill/pay rates; however, if your agency does not, now is a good time to review our recorded webinar on this topic. Also ask yourself, when was the last time you took a look at your bill/pay rates? Rate management is a necessary part of running a successful agency. 

A lot of home care agencies tend to provide less care during the holidays, especially if their only payor source is private pay. This is due to the fact that family members are often taking over caregiving responsibilities when they visit during that time of year. 

If that situation applies to your agency, consider using that “downtime” to celebrate the holidays with your staff. Many of our agencies host potlucks or holiday lunches, do raffle drawings, or schedule time for fun gift exchanges as a way of boosting holiday cheer.

This is also a great time of year to send out holiday cards to your customers and partners. Rosemark is equipped for an easy client or caregiver export, allowing agencies to take advantage of the Mail Merge feature in Microsoft Word. This makes it easy to pull a quick address list out of your software and merge it into Word to create mailing labels. Want to learn more?

For more information on how Rosemark can help your home care agency workflows during the holiday season or any time of the year, please reach out to our customer care team.