care home management

Sleep-in shifts: Still not put to bed?

female carer sleeping on shift

Since 2014 the payment of sleep-in shifts at an hourly rate rather than in a single agreed payment has been an ongoing and unresolved issue despite the ruling of an Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) in that year. The tribunal found in favour of at least National Minimum Wage hourly payments by deeming that the care worker was required to be at a place of work at certain hours and was at the disposal of the employer during that period. Furthermore the employee would be subject to disciplinary action if they failed to arrive on time for their shift.

How do you calculate hours when a carer sleeps on shift?

In 2015 it seemed further clarity was provided through guidelines issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. These stated that “A worker who is found to be working, even though they are asleep, is entitled to the national minimum or NLW [National Living Wage] for the entire time they are at work.” But this apparent confirmation must be contrasted with National Minimum Wage legislation published in the same year, which said a worker can only be considered to be “available” when “awake for the purposes of working”.

In another tribunal as recently as this May, involving a carer working for the charity Mencap, the EAT decided in favour of hourly payments for an employee on a sleep-in shift caring for two vulnerable adults. However, ambiguity was given a further lifeline by the judge, who declined to provide a general rule but instead emphasised that each case should be determined on its own facts and considered in relation to different workers’ circumstances.

Care software that handles every sleep-in payment option

Sleep-in shifts are most commonly worked by staff in the learning difficulties care sector and, as a supplier of market leading employee scheduling, attendance recording and care management software, easyLog has many clients operating in this area. Irrespective of the cost implications of any definitive future sleep-in shifts ruling, easyLog clients know that they have at their disposal a functionally-rich solution that enables them to pay their staff efficiently and accurately at both single and hourly payment rates even within a single overnight shift.

What’s more the software can embrace pay schemes where carers are paid at different rates for working with more behaviourally-challenged service users and be paid at higher rates for working in more remote locations. All instantly calculated, clearly presented and exportable into a wide range of third party payroll software products such as Sage and Northgate.

Please contact us if you’d like more information on how easyLog’s software can future-proof your business.

Posted by administrator in care home management, Minimum Wage, nursing home management, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

Developing the most App-ropriate software tools for your business

easyLog iPhone clocking app grabWhatever industry you are in or service your provide, you are probably finding that smartphones and tablets are increasingly finding their way into your working life – and are becoming just as indispensable as they are for social and leisure activities. The numbers speak for themselves.

Back in 2010, just a fifth of UK mobile phone users had a smartphone, according to eMarketer. Today, that figure is around 80 per cent. The trajectory of tablets has been even more rapid, with more than half of the adult population using one regularly by 2015 – up from a third in two years.

Harnessing the popularity of smartphones and tablets

Although it’s impossible to predict the future of emerging technology trends, we could see early on that mobile devices were going to have a major impact on the management of everyday tasks – and so easyLog began developing convenient app versions of key products from the start.

Initially we focused on apps for Android devices to keep costs down for customers. But as more people began using Apple and Windows devices, we have been able to offer more apps for iOS and Windows Mobile – such as our highly successful multi-location geolocation and QR code staff clocking app, Locate and Clock.

The popularity of these time-saving and simple-to-use apps has inspired easyLog developers to create smartphone and/or tablet versions of several of our other flagship products and increase the functionality available of apps already in the marketplace.

Expanding our app functionality and product range

The Care Logger smartphone app, for example, which is designed for domiciliary care staff, will soon be released with the option for carers to view their rotas, clock-in and view call information. Meanwhile, managers will be able to use the same app to schedule and reschedule calls.

We also have a remote clocking app in the pipeline that is appropriate for a wide range of business sectors. As always we are guided by making routine and complex tasks as quick and easy to perform for everyone involved, saving employers time and money. The move to mobile has really been something of a revolution for us and our customers and we don’t see any sign of it slowing down yet.

For more information on easyLog’s extensive range of products and latest apps, check our website or speak to one of our team.

Posted by administrator in care home management, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, flexible working, mobile worker tracking, nursing home management, rota software, scheduling software

Meeting the demands of multiple charge rates

keyboard and coffee mug denoting office work

With cash-strapped councils scrutinising ways to save money, care contract negotiations have become an even greater battleground where, among other things, service providers are being pushed to be more flexible in their charge structures. That means implementing multiple charging bands, which in turn means increasingly complex invoice calculations for managers – and more headaches.

To meet the financial demands of the care commissioners, evidence suggests care providers are being asked to accept a number of different charge rates for bands of hours in the day or group of days during the week over which they are providing care services. This means they can find themselves applying multiple rates for morning, afternoon and night care provision and, in some cases, additional rates for Saturday and Sunday.

The result is an administrative nightmare, with potential for miscalculations, loss of revenue and delayed payments affecting cash flow – unless you have suitable software in place.

Multiple charge rates are dealt with in seconds

For less than the cost of a tank of petrol a month, easyLog’s Home Care Studio software takes the hard labour out of your service’s admin and record keeping. Multiple charge rates can be defined and applied in seconds, along with multiple pay rates per employee if required. So you can be confident that funder invoices together with payroll are calculated accurately and efficiently.

And with other functionality including care planning and risk assessments records, personnel management incorporating comprehensive training and supervisions facilities and a variety of electronic visit recording options, there’s never been a more relevant time to explore what easyLog could offer your business.

To find out more about our specialist software for community care providers, visit our website or request a callback from one of our team.

Posted by administrator in care home management, domiciliary care and supported living, invoicing staff time, nursing home management, payroll analysis, scheduling software

Clocks going back – will your software pay your night staff correctly?

That’s an interesting point given that British Summertime officially ends this Sunday at 2am with the clocks going back by one hour.

So if you pay night staff by the hour will you be paying one hour more for anyone working the night shift starting this Saturday? And correspondingly of course do you pay one less hour when the clocks go forward in March and British Summertime starts?

Some organisations appear to rely on the supposition that an employee working on the night shift when Summertime ends will also be working on the night shift when Summertime starts and therefore a natural order and balance to these things exists. But that is rather wishful thinking to my mind. Across those two days within any year an employee could be on a different shift, be off sick, have left or be on holiday. And if they’re on holiday and you pay that by the hour then what calculation do you use then to ensure the correct remuneration?

Surprisingly I find some organisations blissfully unaware of the point I am making; and when I bring it to their attention there seems to be an immediate fallback position of the ‘natural balance’ rule I mentioned earlier!

Aware of this conundrum or not, it really doesn’t matter if you are an easyLog customer using our staff scheduling software  as you can resolve the issue either way. A simple tick box parameter allows you to specify if you wish to pay to the exact hours worked or to the normal scheduled shift. And that will take care of any holiday hours calculations and payments as well.

If you are a current customer that would like some help with implementing this feature please call our Support Desk on 0845 225 3011. If you don’t currently use our scheduling software but this article has got you interested in exploring what other clever and efficient things it could do for your organisation then call us on 01892 834406 and speak with one of our team.

Posted by administrator in British summertime hours, business support, care home management, cleaning management, employee attendance, flexible working, Holiday pay, invoicing staff time, Minimum Wage, mobile worker tracking, nursing home management, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

5 hidden extras you get with care-Log+

A resident's life story record in a care home

A good care home management system covers all the essentials as standard – person-centred care plans, rota management, staff records and training, customisable reports and so on. But only the best comes with a range of special features that you didn’t know you needed – until you and your staff find yourselves depending on them every day.

easyLog’s care-Log+ software has been specially designed with input from care professionals to include little extras that help you get the job done easily and efficiently. Here are five of our favourites.

1 Life story – Our person-centred care records contain a Life Story section for storing family details, personal photos and other information, such as key life events, that can be used to form connections with your clients. It’s proved particularly useful in dementia care – especially when used by staff as a reminiscing aid on a tablet PC.

2 Risk-assessment scorecards – All assessment scorecards can be fully customised to accommodate your home’s way of working and changes over time, from modifying an individual question, response or score to adding completely new sections. Responses are colour coded using the traffic light system for clarity. And, of course, standard scoring tools are provided too.

3 Resident cash account – Financial record-keeping for your clients’ own funds, enabling you to keep track of their personal income and outgoings day-to-day.

4 Third-party document attachments – Save time on re-typing supporting information by simply attaching the original documents to your client’s record. All major formats supported, including Word and pdf. And you can do the same on your staff records with details such as CVs, disciplinary letters and so on.

5 Safeguarding section – Prove you’re consistently monitoring the wellbeing of those in your care with an auditable and automatically prompted review of the measures you have in place. The easy-to-use report generator allows you to present any data required in answering a CQC inspector’s question, from food consumed in the last week to activities undertaken since the start of the year. All queries can be answered quickly and simply, demonstrating the quality of care you provide.

To find out more about our care-Log+ care home system and how it can help your business, request a callback from one of our team or contact us by phone or e-mail.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, care record management, care recording, CQC Inspections, nursing home management

Reduce the impact of Brexit on your care home

Workflow with new technologies

The Prime Minister has said that Brexit means Brexit – but we are still a long way from knowing how leaving the EU will play out. For businesses in the care sector, such as individual care homes and groups, there are particular areas of concern. These are a few of the challenges the industry is set to face.

Falling house prices

UK property prices have fallen by almost one per cent – or £2,467 – in the month since the referendum, according to Rightmove. And this is normally the most buoyant time of year. It may not sound much but with uncertainty over what Brexit will actually mean likely to continue for at least a couple of years, there is going to be less money available to clients who fund care by selling their home.

Recruitment issues

It seems inevitable that some kind of restriction is going to be imposed on the movement of workers from Europe – and beyond, if an Australian-style points system is adopted. Such a system “is unlikely to be favourable to relatively low-skilled workers in the care sector,” according to former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley (now Lord Lansley), who has urged the industry to make sure its voice is heard in the coming negotiations.

Higher staff turnover

Changing attitudes to immigration may mean that many care workers either choose or are required to leave their jobs in the UK. This will exacerbate an already difficult human resources issue for care providers struggling to maintain a low turnover of staff.

Prospect of recession

We know that the initial stage of Britain’s exit from the EU will take at least two years – the time limit for enacting Article 50. Although we will learn more about the implications over time, uncertainty over the details and economic impact will cause many businesses to put their growth plans on hold – temporarily at least – potentially triggering recession.

What can care homes do to prepare?

There are no easy answers but clearly it is a time to ensure your resources are managed as effectively as possible. This means making the best use of all the features of your care home management system, from staff scheduling and rota management to efficient record keeping and payroll analysis.

For individual advice on getting the most out of your easyLog system, please contact one of our team – we will be happy to help.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, nursing home management, rota software, scheduling software

Are you and your staff ready for Brexit?

brexit-logo

If there’s one thing we can be sure about following the Brexit vote, it is uncertainty. None of us knows for sure what the coming months and years will bring, despite all the claims and counter claims. But when it comes to the European working time directive, it seems fair to say there will be no change soon because the UK already has an opt-out of the 48-hour week.

While this means there is no urgent need to rethink your staff scheduling system, it’s a good time to make sure you are prepared for any changes when they do come.

Having the right staff management system in place will help you ensure you have the optimum number of staff on your rota to keep your business running smoothly while controlling contracted hours, so you can keep costs down and service levels up.

Add to that the benefit of detailed budgeting, invoicing and payroll reports that can be tailored to your needs and you have all you need to keep a check on your staffing expenditure.

With an easyLog system, you also get a range of extra management tools that help streamline virtually all aspects of staffing, from training to HR and personal record keeping.

Visit our website to find out more.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, flexible working, invoicing staff time, latest news, nursing home management, payroll analysis, rota software, scheduling software, timesheets

Cloud options for every hosting scenario and budget

clouds on tablet PC to represent cloud server option

At easyLog, one of our defining principles is to help our customers benefit from the latest technology, whatever their size and way of working. As a result of a number of industry developments, including a significant reduction in the price of cloud server options and an increase in broadband speeds nationally, we are now pleased to be able to offer an expanded range of cloud-based facilities.

This means we have options to suit every type of hosting and server set-up and can provide high quality cloud services for almost every budget – in keeping with our principles.

Broadly, there are three main hosting models:

  • We can install easyLog software on your self- or externally-managed cloud server
  • We can manage your easyLog software and related functions on your cloud server
  • We can provide a full hosting and management service through our own servers

To discuss the different options and their relative benefits to your organisation, please contact one of our team or request a callback.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, care record management, cleaning management, domiciliary care and supported living, employee attendance, flexible working, latest news, mobile worker tracking, nursing home management, rota software, scheduling software

Make your care home more efficient without compromising on care

carer using bodymap function on a tablet

With rising costs and an ever increasing administrative burden, it’s no wonder that the number of care homes going into administration has been rocketing.

Over the past three years, care home insolvencies have jumped by more than a third, according to Moore Stephens, with the number rising by nearly a fifth (18 per cent) in the year to September 2015. And the accountants suggest that the situation is likely to get worse as a result of financial pressures such as the introduction of the Living Wage, the cost of meeting increasing regulations and local authority spending cuts – the Local Government Association estimates that there will be a £2.9 billion annual funding gap in social care by the end of the decade.

Research by BBC Radio Four supports this view, indicating that a quarter of British care homes will go out of business within three years because they are not making enough profit.

Of course there is no quick and easy way to reduce running costs while maintaining high standards of care – but there are things you can do to make your working practices more efficient.

Choose the right technology for your care home

If you haven’t already invested in an electronic record system, do it now. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune and will soon pay its way in terms of time savings and greater accuracy and detail. Many suppliers, including easyLog, offer low cost monthly payments for software and services so there is no big capital outlay to strain already tight budgets.

A carefully-chosen solution tailored to your care home’s needs can transform the way you manage your business and how carers go about their daily tasks. Using tablet PCs to work on the move, for instance, helps carers spend more time caring and less time on admin by allowing them to record and view care records and shift notes as they go.

Be ready for a CQC inspection

This not only makes for a more efficient way of working but also ensures you always have a full audit trail and detailed care record reporting to hand, enabling you to answer quickly any information requests in a CQC inspection.

At the same time you can build and sustain a reputation for the quality of care in your area through the proactive management of care issues that your easyLog software highlights.

Use your rota to control costs

Implementing suitable staff scheduling software designed for care homes will make setting your rota quicker and easier. More importantly, it will help you control your staffing budget – so there are no unexpected staff costs through unnecessary headcount or overtime payments, for example.

Specialist software such as our care-Log+ package will also give you the option to streamline other staff management functions, such as training and HR records, through a simple but detailed personnel module.

To find out more about finding the most effective care record management system for your business, take a look at the care home section of our website or contact one of our team.

Posted by administrator in business support, care home management, care record management, care recording, CQC Inspections, rota software

Five ways to build a better relationship with your care staff

happy care worker in a care home

Being a carer is a tough job – which means that being an employer or supervisor of care staff can be tough too. But making sure your carers feel valued and supported isn’t difficult and will repay you many times over in terms of productivity, loyalty and overall performance.

Here are five simple tips for using your care management system to improve your relationship with your care staff – and make your care home a happier, more efficient place to live and work.

  1. Keep up to date with training

Regular training makes for confident, effective staff – so think of it as a necessity not a luxury. Use your care software to set reminders for training renewal dates, keep a record of training sessions and accommodate training in the staff rota. Find out more about managing training and your rota with care-Log+ here.

  1. Make use of time-saving technology

Tablet computers have transformed the way many of our care home clients manage their records. Staff like them because they make updating records and adding notes easier, while owners and managers like them because carers can make highly detailed records quickly, wherever they happen to be in the care home. Read more about our specially-designed care software for tablets.

  1. Give your staff the shifts they want

Allocating shifts at the last minute and failing to give timely information about the staff schedule are sure ways to create disgruntled carers. But if you use a suitable electronic rota system, giving staff the shifts they want and keeping them informed of any changes is simple. Find out more about how you can optimise your rota management techniques here.

  1. Run a mistake-free payroll

Sorting out errors in pay is irritating for your staff and wastes valuable time. And it’s often totally unnecessary. If you use a combined clocking and rota system you will have fewer mistakes – and much happier staff as a consequence. Read more about our wide range of staff clocking options for care homes and the benefits of integrating care-Log+ with your payroll software.

  1. Show staff you care

Little things like remembering birthdays and enabling staff to take the leave they want can make a big difference to morale. So make sure you keep the HR section of your care home software up to date – it’s a useful source of information for providing a personal touch.

Posted by administrator in care home management