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  • 25 November 2019
  • 2 min read

Three staff rota tips for care home managers

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Here are three simple-to-remember staff rota tips for the care home manager.

1) Ensure basic needs of residents are covered

The staffing levels / allocation must cover the basic needs of the residents in your care –that’s a minimum of staff to cover care, laundry, housekeeping and catering.

If there are absences on shift (weekends are usually the worst), these needs still need to be met regardless.

In most homes, certain care staff will be experienced in providing cover for other areas too – the crucial two are kitchen and housekeeping.

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2) The rota needs to reflect a good skill-mix

People put to work together need to have a sufficient depth of experience to cope with the demands of the area they are allocated to.

If this doesn’t happen, a more experienced staff member on shift will carry the shift and may burn out / get resentful and eventually leave.

This often happens in social care, especially when staff are regularly allocated to an area with a heavy workload.

This can also amplify the risk of residents receiving poorly co-ordinated care.

For example - if there is a floor in a care home with a lot of physical work, e.g. many residents who require the assistance of 2 staff, if one of the staff is inexperienced or with a slow work pace, just meeting the minimum needs for the residents for that day – getting them up, washing, accessing the toilet, eating, drinking, getting changed can be exhausting for the more experienced staff member.

3) The live rota is a legally binding document

The live rota is a legally binding document to evidence staffing levels on a given day. It can be used in a court of law should there be a serious accident that may relate to levels of staffing and the registered manager will be held accountable.

For these reasons, the following good sense applies:

• The rota needs to be a controlled document

• It needs to be owned

• Changes need to be authorised

• Staff are not to change it themselves

The live must be managed through the deputy care home manager / duty manager / care home manager to ensure that the staffing cover arranged is safe and adequate and balances the needs of the team with the needs of the residents

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About the author

Liam Palmer is the author of 3 books on raising quality standards in care homes through developing leadership skills. In Oct 2020, he published a guide to the Home Manager role called "So You Want To Be A Care Home Manager?". Liam has been fortunate to work as a Senior Manager across many healthcare brands including a private hospital, a retirement village and medium to large Care Homes in the private sector and 3rd sector. He hosts a podcast "Care Quality - meet the leaders and innovators”.

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