Our development team at OnShift practices the Agile Methodology of software development. While this methodology is mainly referenced in relation to software development, it can be used in any industry. Here’s how it works in a nutshell:Read More
Most of the long-term care and senior living communities I’ve worked with consider overtime a cost concern, and rightly so. But even though monetary cost is definitely a worry in today’s environment, I wanted to take a moment to talk about another other side – tired, burned out workers.
In a study by the University of Pennsylvania, researchers found that the risks of error were significantly increased when nurses worked long shifts or overtime hours. Using the 8.5-hour shift as a baseline, the percent of shifts with errors nearly doubled when the employee worked more than 8.5 hours in a day. Employees working 12.5-hour shifts were especially affected when they incurred overtime. The number of shifts with errors more than tripled!
At this point only four states - California, Maine, New Jersey, and Oregon - have laws on the books banning mandatory overtime, which helps the issue in a fraction of the facilities across the country. In all other states, employees can voluntarily work any amount of time in a 24-hour period. And when facilities are understaffed, they tend to take the first person who is able to fill the shift because it “solves” the issue quickly. But think about it – even though it’s the fastest way, is it really solving any problems?
Consider how tired workers can affect the quality of care provided, in addition to the bottom line. Poor staffing practices can lead to bad care, which puts residents at risk. Inspection deficiencies, family complaints, poor and unmotivated staff, and employee turnover can also come about as a result of improper staffing. All of this feeds directly into the 5-Star Quality Rating that helps seniors and their families pick the best place for loved ones to live.
What can you do? Recognize the signs of tired employees. Take note of employees consistently taking on extra hours or doubles week over week. Make sure you have processes in place to properly manage shift assignments along with overtime controls.
Consider how technology like OnShift staff scheduling and labor management software can help prevent unnecessary overtime and avoid awarding extra shifts to the same employees. Plus, OnShift’s reports can help communities keep track of employee hours – so managers know that staff members are taking their breaks which are necessary for safety and quality care. This is a wake-up call for communities. Take control of your staffing practices to ensure employees are alert, so that they can provide the care your residents deserve.
Whitepaper: The Executive's Guide to Staffing Best Practices