Domiciliary care and supported living

Facial recognition – for hygienic and fraud-proof staff clocking

 

Recording attendance presents a far higher risk of virus transmission if staff are sharing a traditional terminal – which provides businesses seeking a fraud-proof clocking method with a dilemma.

If a fingerprint or hand reader is used by everyone, a strict cleaning regime needs to be implemented to ensure the well-being of staff and maintain their confidence in a safe workplace.

Should a company decide to install a proximity card or tag-reading terminal to avoid physical contact, then more traditional concerns come into play – such as whether staff are swapping cards or tags to fraudulently record the attendance of a fellow worker who is not actually there.

App-based attendance recording: low-cost, hygienic, tamper-proof

easyLog has for some time offered its clients app-based attendance recording that converts an employee’s smartphone into a hygienic, safe and reliable clocking device. Low-cost and easily implemented, these apps have various features that prevent an employee from falsely recording their attendance, including identifying the GPS coordinates where the clocking was made and recognising if the time on the phone has been tampered with.

Now easyLog has moved this technology even further ahead with its Geo Clock With Photo app for Android and Apple smartphones. This app takes a photo – like a selfie – when an employee records their attendance and automatically verifies it as genuine by biometric facial recognition. It combines this function with geolocation data, so both identity and location are confirmed in one record, providing total assurance that the attendance record is genuine.

Also available for tablets

This app is also available for a tablet to allow a site supervisor to record the attendance of individuals as they arrive – thereby maintaining a safe and hygienic clocking process – or as a wall-mounted device for recording entry and exit from a site.

If you want to be sure that an attendance record is genuine or you maintain a site that demands very secure management of the personnel who are allowed in, easyLog’s Geo Clock With Photo app may be the low cost answer to your needs. And with contact limited to each handset user – or, in the case of a tablet, a particular supervisor – you can be confident that you are reducing the risk of spreading infection too.

Find out more

Contact one of our friendly team on 01892 834406, request a callback using the form on the right or email us your enquiry.

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Latest news, Mobile worker tracking, QR code and biometric clocking, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments

Clocking in with a QR code: cheaper than chips!

 

The business world emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic will undoubtedly be very different from the one that entered the crisis. It will be even more cost-conscious, given the additional overheads of making and keeping premises safe for employees and visitors, and staff will have a heightened awareness of hygiene, with frequently touched surfaces and equipment requiring regular and scheduled cleaning. Work is also likely to be more flexible in terms of where and when it is conducted, with split shifts and staggered start times – and, as a result, monitoring staff hours and calculating pay will be more complex and require greater input and control.

Smartphone attendance apps for the new normal

In line with our reputation for supplying low cost, robust and practical employee time management solutions, easyLog has ensured that its range of QR code-based attendance recording apps meet all the requirements of hard-pressed employers coming to terms with the new normal.

From just £20 per month plus VAT for a system covering up to 15 employees, staff can record attendance at a single or multiple sites using their own (or company-issued) smartphone and easyLog’s Location Clock App.

Simple to download from the major stores and install, the app automatically scans and recognises a QR Code that is defined per location. It converts this into an instant employee attendance record and sends this to the e-Log web browser-based software application supplied as part of the solution. This produces detailed or summarised timesheets across any period per employee and location, can deduct unpaid break periods and export any report into Excel for further analysis.

QR codes – the low-cost solution that covers all the bases

  • Low cost – just over £1 per month per employee for the cloud-based solution. easyLog provides software support as required, online training and daily backup. No up-front, one-off set up and training costs – everything you need is included in the monthly amount. The minimum contract length is 12 months with one-month cancellation. Simple, clear and straightforward.
  • QR codes are free to generate and download from many websites. Your only cost is the paper and ink for printing.
  • Hygienic – employees use a smartphone which is always under their control, so there are no health concerns about multiple staff touching an attendance recording device and how clean and safe that unit remains.

For more information about attendance recording with QR codes, you can read this case study.

Find out more

easyLog offers a wide range of apps, attendance recording technologies and software. Talk to one of our team today on 01892 834406, request a callback using the form on the right or email us your enquiry.

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, Business support, Care home management, Cleaning management, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Invoicing staff time, Mobile worker tracking, Nursing home management, QR code and biometric clocking, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments

easylog updates care software app for temporary hotel hospitals

With the Covid-19 epidemic causing disruption and hardship to businesses across the UK, particularly in the hard-pressed care sector, we were pleased to be able to help one of our clients meet the challenge of extending their care services to six hotels being used as temporary overspill hospitals.

Salisbury-based care group Abicare called us after they were contracted to provide care staff for recuperating patients from hospitals across Hampshire and Dorset. The carers were needed to look after both Covid-positive and non-Covid patients who were being accommodated in empty local hotels operated by major chains.

“Because of the unique nature of the contract, Abicare needed us to make some tweaks to their HomeCare software app and import a lot of new data,” says easyLog development director James Clark.

“The changes we made were chiefly to enable care staff to make more notes to meet the differing care record needs of patients and, crucially, to track patient visits so appropriate hygiene procedures could be followed. We worked with Abicare over a weekend to create a new instance of the software and get it up and running as fast as possible. We are proud to say it is already in use in the new hotel ‘wards’.”

Find out more

For more information about our care systems, visit our website. Alternatively, contact one of our team for a chat.

 

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care recording, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Latest news, Time and attendance, 2 comments

Keeping staff safe by maintaining attendance device hygiene

 

One of the side-effects of the coronavirus pandemic is that we have all become much more aware of hygiene procedures, with government advice on hand washing and disinfecting surfaces with increased regularity becoming embedded in the routine of our daily lives.

This has caused our clients to consider the most effective way of cleaning their attendance recording hardware and so address employee concerns about the frequency with which this equipment is touched by multiple people.

Regular hand-washing is more important than ever

Like any hard surface – whether it be a door handle, desk or computer keyboard – germs can survive for a varying period of up to 72 hours after contact (source: www.gov.uk). We therefore recommend cleaning your clocking equipment more frequently using the usual recommended method while also encouraging employees to follow the government’s advice on washing their hands more often and for a minimum period of 20 seconds.

How technology can make staff clocking more hygienic

Before the current pandemic, a quick visual check or once weekly clean would have satisfied most staff that the contact they had with items in their work environment was perfectly safe. Understandably that view has changed and may well continue even after the threat from Covid-19 has been seen to pass.

In the belief that attitudes may fundamentally change on hygiene in the workplace, we have been asked by clients if options exist for equipment that requires no contact by the employee.

In short, there is no attendance hardware used by multiple staff that enables zero contact from the user. As a minimum, the employee will need to enter the in or out direction of their record. A face recognition terminal provides the facility to stand away from the hardware and thereby minimise contact with it while also offering the advantage of unique biometric recognition. A tablet running one of easyLog’s attendance apps will still require an employee to touch it but provides a flat surface that makes the cleaning process simple and efficient.

Our smartphone app means users do not have to share equipment

If staff members each possess a smartphone, easyLog offers options with easily downloadable apps that allow reliable and accurate attendance recording without recourse to equipment used by others. Of course, the practicality of this will depend on the workforce, the numbers involved and layout of the entrance area and specific clocking location.

These are all options that easyLog is happy to discuss now or in the post-pandemic, and probably more hygiene-conscious, world into which businesses will emerge. Until that time, please stay safe.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Cleaning management, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, 0 comments

Six steps to CQC-proofing your staff rota

smiling female carer with a resident

Setting the rota can be one of the most stressful and time-consuming managerial tasks, not least because ensuring a care home has adequate carers in place at all times is something that CQC inspectors will be looking at closely.

Suitable staff scheduling software can take a lot of the strain when it comes to creating a rota. Here are some of the many ways specialist solutions can help.

1. Ensuring cover is always available

One of the time-saving features of our scheduling software that customers depend on most is the ability to store employees’ regular hours on a rolling rota. There is no need to keep re-inputting data, the rota can be prepared as many weeks in advance as required and managers can see at a glance where shifts need to be filled. At the same time, staff can be confident of getting the shifts they want. When absences inevitably occur, the software can be used to find suitable cover quickly and easily, even at short notice. Employees can be filtered via criteria that determine their rate of pay, such as training, qualifications and seniority, so you can be sure of always having staffing levels that meet regulatory requirements without burning your budget.

When it comes to managing leave, easylog rota software can automatically check that the required cover is still available for a proposed period of absence.

2. Giving staff plenty of warning about their shifts

A reliable and timely method of informing staff about their shifts is essential for smooth continuity of care. By using our employee smartphone apps,  shift details can be sent from the main rota software direct to carers’ phones at the touch of a button as soon as the rota is set. Your carers can confirm the shift immediately, saving time and reducing the possibility of errors as shifts will always be available to view on the phone. Staff can also use the app for other routine tasks, such as managing leave and expenses and checking clockings against shifts, making associated admin faster and more efficient.

3. Comparing clockings with shifts

An integrated clocking system makes calculating pay simpler and more accurate and, more importantly from the CQC’s point of view, allows managers to show that no periods have been left uncovered. Our software can be used with any of our attendance options, from mobile phones and iPads to biometric handscanners, fingerprint readers and facial recognition devices.  We even have specialist electronic devices for monitoring night checks so you have a reliable record that routine but essential care tasks have been recorded.  To find the best match for your care home, just contact one of our team.

4. Providing adequate records

A further benefit of using specialist scheduling software is that a full record of the rota is available for CQC to inspect and can be retained for the statutory period without keeping multiple paper files. As well as saving space, this means records can be searched quickly and easily and electronic reports  generated as required.

5. Being able to show clients are receiving the right staff allocation

Supported living providers can prove care has been provided by allocating staff on the rota to individual or multiple service users. They can also show the local authority that the care it is paying for has been delivered through easily-generated reports and invoice clients directly from the software.

6. Using reports to improve service provision

The opportunity to produce reports is one of the key management benefits of a software-based rota. For example, shift and absence records can be used as an accurate input to staff supervisions and any problems can be pinpointed and acted upon – something that CQC inspectors like to see as evidence that fit and proper management is in place.

To find out more about our rota software and clocking options, or any other products, please request a call-back or contact us.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, CQC Inspections, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, Rota software, Scheduling software, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 2 comments

Manage holiday cover without losing your cool this summer

For most of us, summer is about sunshine, days out and getting away from it all for a week or two. But for employers it means more gaps in the rota to be filled and fewer staff willing and able to cover, plus additional complications when it comes to calculating pay. This is especially true of smaller employers and those in seasonal trades, who often find the holiday season the most stressful and exhausting time of the year.

Of course, scheduling software cannot take all the pressure out of summer staffing issues but chosen and used appropriately it can make life much simpler.

Dealing with the staff rota

The most pressing matter at holiday time has got to be ensuring you have enough people available at all times to keep your operation running smoothly. This is particularly challenging if your staffing requirements are variable at the best of times. But suitable rota software can really help – not only by alerting managers to potential gaps in the rota and providing suggestions for filling them but also allowing adjustments to be made quickly and easy, until the last minute if required.

easyLog rota software has in-built and optional features that take a lot of the stress out of managing holiday absences, no matter how complex your staffing levels. These include automatically checking that the necessary cover is available to meet your pre-defined staffing profile as soon as a leave request is submitted. Employees can also check their leave status and submit holiday requests directly to the software via their smartphones, freeing up admin time spent handling enquiries.

Calculating holiday pay

It is not just the rota that gets complicated in the holiday season – working out correct pay rates can cause a bit of a headache too. Among the issues you may need to take into account when calculating holiday pay are:

  • Staff who work variable roles, rates and/or shifts
  • Adjustments for overnights
  • Bank Holiday rates
  • Regular overtime – compulsory and voluntary
  • Routine out of hours work and on call shifts

easylog software can manage multiple pay rates, so calculating the correct rate of pay is simple. A Shift Analysis report, for example, automatically calculates an employee’s average pay per hour across any period. This can be used to determine the average hourly rate of the hours worked by casual and bank staff, for instance, and so the applicable pay rate for when they are on leave.

Managing leave requests

At this time of year, leave requests tend to come in thick and fast, often at short notice. And so time spent dealing with them also increases.

easylog rota software has a detailed holiday report that shows at a glance how much leave staff have already taken and what they have remaining. This is displayed in simple percentage terms, with a large negative percentage indicating they have a lot of holiday entitlement still to take and vice versa.

Employees can also use our rota app to check their holiday entitlement and book time off direct from their phones. The request goes directly to the main easylog rota software so admins can see at a glance if there will be cover available.

For more information on our rota and payroll reporting software and smartphone apps, please contact us or request a callback.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care home management, Cleaning management, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Holiday pay, Nursing home management, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Smartphone app, Timesheets, 0 comments

Can employees fool an app to falsify their attendance records?

In the second of our series of blogs about asking employees to record their attendance using an app on their smartphone, we consider what security features to look for to prevent the possibility of staff dishonestly covering up lateness.

It’s an interesting observation that employers implement time and attendance systems principally to deliver two results: first, administrative time savings through automated calculation of timesheets and pay analysis and second, to improve the accuracy of recording their employee’s attendance.

On that latter point, the ultimate guarantee to prevent an employee fraudulently falsifying their hours is to use a biometric reader that recognises an individual by a unique part of their body, such as fingerprint, face or hand. However, many of our clients have small numbers of staff working irregularly at a number of sites where it would be uneconomic to justify the capital cost of such equipment at each location. In these situations, the low-cost alternative is to ask the employees to use their own or company-issued smartphone to record their attendance at each site. But without biometric safeguards, how can you be certain that the time clocking was generated by the registered user of the phone? That’s where easyLog has consulted with its growing number of users and delivered a solution that gives the employer confidence that any attendance record has been generated by the identified person.

So how does our app prevent clocking fraud?

Firstly, the app is used with QR codes, the latest generation of barcode representation. Generated from free-to-use websites, they can be printed and assigned to each location to uniquely identify the specific site. When the app is used it accesses the camera of the smartphone and the employee simply moves their phone over the code until an image is captured to record the date, time and location. The app also records the GPS reference at the point the attendance record was made. This is significant if an employee should have thoughts that they could photocopy the QR code – and then record their attendance from the comfort of their bed for example – as it will automatically be brought to the attention of their employer!

Within the easyLog software, each location is defined with a unique reference (used by the QR code) and also has their GPS latitude and longitude coordinates entered against it. So if the QR code is scanned from somewhere different to its defined location, the easyLog software will know and flag accordingly with a link to Google Maps to identify the actual location of the errant clocking.

Software that can’t be fooled

Secondly, the app records the date and time that the attendance record is sent to the back-office timesheet management software application. This may not seem immediately significant but if the employee has changed the time on their smartphone – moving it backwards to avoid being flagged as late or forwards to falsely claim overtime – then this will be detected by the easyLog software.

Thirdly, when downloaded the app automatically creates a unique ID reference for the individual smartphone. Again, in an online world familiar with website cookies, this may seem like normal practice. However, it provides another preventive measure against the dishonest employee who may be tempted to help a colleague who is running late.

As mentioned earlier, each employee is given a unique number to identify that it is them using the app each time – and they enter this in the app when they first use it. So what if they change that number to use their smartphone to clock in on behalf of a colleague? The software automatically identifies the phone used for each attendance record from the unique ID reference so if it finds clockings from two different employees but with the same ID then it will be raised with their manager to take appropriate action.

Peace of mind for employers

We hope the anti-fraud measures that we’ve included in the app won’t actually require use but unfortunately rogue staff do exist. Most importantly perhaps, easyLog can give the employer the peace of mind that their workforce is recording their attendance accurately, easily and with certainty – and at a price that is economic for any size of organisation.

If you would like to know more about these features, other apps in our range and the time and attendance and staff scheduling modules with which they integrate, please call on 01892 834406 or send us an email.

Posted by administrator in Apple iPhone, Business support, Cleaning management, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Invoicing staff time, Mobile worker tracking, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, Smartphone app, Time and attendance, Timesheets, 0 comments

Developing the most App-ropriate software tools for your business

Whatever 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, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Mobile worker tracking, Nursing home management, Rota software, Scheduling software, 0 comments

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 dedicated domiciliary care 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, 0 comments

10 ways Home Care Studio can make work – and life – simpler

When you’re choosing a home care system, the chances are you’ll have a long list of boxes that need to be ticked. But we know from talking to our customers that often it’s the less obvious features that prove most valuable in terms of saving time and making delivering quality care that little bit easier.

The following functions of our Home Care Studio software may not be top of your checklist – but we think that once you’ve tried them you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.

  1. Reviewing care plans on the move – on a phone

Our Care-Logger app enables carers to carry out evaluations and assessments as well as view care plans and tasks associated with client visits wherever they are via their smartphone – even when there is no internet connection. It can also be used to view and manage rotas and as a clocking device for ultimate flexibility and convenience.

  1. Set an ideal rota

We know most providers like to send a familiar carer face to their service users – and that most carers want some certainty over their rota. So that’s where the ideal rota comes in. A powerful and flexible function that allows you to define carers’ regular visit routes and then use this as the basis for the weekly rota.

  1. Log client visits by mobile phone

When time is money, an accurate and cost-effective visit tracking system is essential. One that is proving particularly popular with our home care customers is visit logging by smartphone. Using QR codes (smart barcodes), NFC tags or GPS global positioning technology, all are simple to use, highly efficient and surprisingly inexpensive.

  1. Update records on the go

With our specially-designed care-Logger app, carers can make visit notes directly into client records using their phones – no uploading or transcribing required. And to save even more time and bother, you can easily set up existing assessments in Home Care Studio.

  1. It’s not just about home care…

Our Home Care Studio software has flexibility built in – which means it’s equally suitable for supported living and agency care providers. This is particularly useful for customers who have multi-faceted care businesses.

  1. Personalise your invoices

You can customise your company invoicing by adding your own logo and adjusting the layout, creating a consistent, professional look and feel across your paperwork.

  1. Easy access to policies and procedures

Our policies and procedures section means staff can quickly and easily find important information when they need it, saving time and helping to ensure best practice is adhered to at all times.

  1. CM2000 interface

Because we know that, in the real world, larger care organisations especially use a variety of management tools, we have made our software compatible with other leading providers, such as Care Management 2000 for smooth transitions between systems.

  1. Client contributions made easy

Our invoicing section takes into account different payment structures, including client contributions, saving time and reducing billing-related headaches.

  1. Reports with everything

Whatever kind of report you want and however you want it presented, you’ve got it. You can even access a mileage report from Google Maps if you want.

If you want to know more about our domiciliary care and supported living system or any of the points above, request a callback from one of our team or contact us by phone or e-mail.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care record management, Care recording, Domiciliary care and supported living, Mobile worker tracking, Payroll analysis, Rota software, Scheduling software, 0 comments

Are you and your staff ready for Brexit?

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, 0 comments

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, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Latest news, Mobile worker tracking, Nursing home management, Rota software, Scheduling software, 0 comments

How to keep your home care staff happy by giving them the shifts they want – and you need

Setting a rota on a tablet computer

If you run a care agency, planning the rota is probably one of your least favourite jobs – it’s complicated, time consuming and often impossible to please every member of staff, no matter how hard you try. But creating an efficient and cost-effective staff rota does not have to be a headache-inducing chore.

easyLog’s home care software has been designed specially to help you plan a rota with your staff in mind. Our advanced rota facilities can ensure that staff are given adequate hours while guaranteeing that work is allocated in employee-friendly blocks. You can use the software to make sure that carers are not called back for a short evening shift after a long morning session, for instance, or even choose to avoid split shifts altogether.

And if you need to make last minute changes to the rota or schedule extra shifts for those that want them, that’s not a problem either. Our smartphone-based care and rota software provides up-to-date information ensuring all the information you need is always to hand, wherever and whenever you need it. Plus it has the advantage of keeping paperwork to a minimum.

Find out more about our specialist care home software here.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Rota software, Scheduling software, 0 comments

Set your rota for the new living wage

staff scheduling with the easyLog rota app

It’s not long until April and the introduction of the National Living Wage, when virtually all employees aged 25 and over will be entitled to at least £7.20 per hour. For employers working to a tight budget, that means either gritting your teeth and upping the wages bill or juggling your rotas to keep staffing costs down.

Whichever you choose, controlling wage costs by selecting the right staff for the most appropriate job function has never been more important – and neither has having flexible and efficient rota management software.

easyLog’s scheduling system can take the hard work out of organising your rota with a helpful budgeting facility. This enables you to set your rota quickly and easily by filtering workers via factors that determine their rate of pay, such as training, qualifications and seniority.

You can read more about setting a rota to a budget with our staff scheduling software in our flexible working hours case study.

The government recommends taking these four steps to ensure you are ready for the National Living Wage:

  1. Know who is eligible in your organisation
  2. Make the appropriate payroll adjustments
  3. Let staff know about their new pay rate as soon as possible
  4. Check that staff under 25 are earning right minimum wage

Find out more about preparing for the National Living Wage at gov.uk.

Posted by administrator in Business support, Care home management, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Nursing home management, Rota software, Scheduling software, 0 comments

Now staff can clock in with a smartphone and a QR code

Clocking in (and out) with a smartphone just got as easy as scanning a tin of beans at the supermarket with the addition of a QR code option in our multi-platform employee clocking app.

QR, or quick response, codes are the 21st century version of the barcode. Developed for their readability and superior data storage capacity, they comprise a number of square black dots arranged on a white background across a square grid. The QR code image is easy to produce and can be placed on a sticker or in a folder, for example, so it can be used in a wide variety of locations.

QR codes can now be read and interpreted via smartphones simply by pointing the phone’s camera at the image. The location data read is then sent back to the host with timestamp and phone id, making QR codes an extremely versatile alternative or addition to the other location services provided on our clocking app.

Like the other staff clocking options on the app, clocking via QR code has been tested on Android, iOS and Windows phones.

Posted by administrator in Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Latest news, Mobile worker tracking, 2 comments

Get ready for the new 30 minute home care visit

Setting a rota on a tablet computer

With new guidelines recommending that home care visits to the elderly should last a minimum of 30 minutes, it’s more important than ever to have a simple and dependable staff clocking system and effective rota management software.

The guidance, developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), does allow for shorter visits but only if they are not the main visit of the day – for example, a follow up to check if a client has taken medicine. It also includes taking steps to ensure that clients know their carers by trying to use the same ones whenever possible and letting clients know in advance if their carers are likely to be late or not turn up.

To find out more about our wide range of attendance monitoring and staff scheduling systems and how they can help you meet the demands of this new gold standard for home care, visit our domiciliary care and supported living pages.

Posted by administrator in Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Mobile worker tracking, Rota software, Scheduling software, 0 comments

Is recruiting more men the answer to the care time-bomb?

male carer attending elderly resident

Britain’s growing demand for carers has been called a workforce time-bomb – and industry experts have suggested that one of the best ways of diffusing it is to recruit more men.

Currently more than 80 per cent of carers – four in every five – are women and just 16 per cent are men. This figure has remained static since 2012, despite an increasing number of men needing care into old age.

“When it comes to personal care in particular, some men prefer this to be done by a male rather than female,” says Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England.

But men are often prevented from becoming professional carers by entrenched perceptions, he adds.

“The problem is people always see caring roles as being female roles. We need to make society understand that everyone has the potential to be carer.”

A recent report by the International Longevity Centre UK and care charity Anchor predicts that one million new care roles will be needed by 2025 to meet rising demand and currently unmet need. Over the same period, the number of people of working age is expected to rise by just 2.5 million.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Domiciliary care and supported living, Opinion, 0 comments

View and save our care and attendance products on Pinterest

easyLog is now on Pinterest, so you can browse a selection of our care management products and time and attendance devices then pin your favourites to your own boards and share them with colleagues. You can also follow us so you will be the first to see new additions to our boards.

We currently have three boards:

To find out more, click on the links above or visit our Pinterest home page: www.pinterest.com/easylogltd/

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Care record management, Care recording, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Latest news, Mobile worker tracking, Nursing home management, 0 comments

Smartphone clocking app offers more location data options

easyLog will shortly release a new multi-platform clocking app with a variety of data location options – making staff attendance monitoring with a smartphone more versatile than ever and suitable for an even wider range of employers.

The app uses a location services library, which means it can access data from a number of location-identifying sources. When employees clocks in – or out – with a smartphone, the location of the device can be obtained from any of the following, if available:

  • GPS
  • Network IP address location
  • Wifi address location
  • GSM network IDs

Location info will be logged along with date, time and device ID, along with any optional employee and client details selected.

Data can be sent to the chosen server immediately or held for subsequent download. Following download, a server timestamp will be added to the data and, if required, the location can be confirmed by postcode or address, or checked against existing client locations.

Our new app will supersede the existing Android-only location app.

For more information, contact the easyLog team.

Posted by administrator in Cleaning management, Clocking and employee attendance, Domiciliary care and supported living, Flexible working, Latest news, Mobile worker tracking, 0 comments

New care record software online training videos announced

Responding to client requests, easyLog will be introducing a comprehensive range of on-line training videos on its care record management software during this Summer. These videos are designed to help care staff quickly get to grips with the main functionality of the product such as creating care plans and evaluating them, completing risk and health assessments and handling other care-related information about a service user like activities calendars, body maps and recording drug administration.

The idea behind the videos is to provide a comprehensive training resource that is independent of the senior system administrator staff that have been responsible for configuring and implementing the software initially. In this way care staff can review and learn functionality quickly without needing to interrupt or book time with the small number of managerial staff that possess the overall system knowledge and detail of its day-to-day functionality. As such this creates a win-win for the overall care team with both carers and their managers able to focus time on the specific training that they will need to operate the system from their own perspective.

The first on-line videos are set to appear later this month with a full set in place by the close of August.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Care record management, Care recording, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, 0 comments

Look to the cloud if you want to share care and rota management software across different locations

white clouds to symbolise cloud computing

Employers looking for simple but versatile rota or care management software that can be used across multiple locations should consider easyLog’s latest range of cloud server-based options.

Designed to let users make connections to other sites via the internet more easily without the investment of a big IT infrastructure, these options use Windows Remote Desktop Services to distribute our care-Log+ care home system, Home Care Studio supported living solution and e-Log rota management software as remote applications.

Active Directory integration is also available for customers wanting to run easyLog products on existing Windows cloud hosting packages.

Benefits of switching to cloud-based systems include:

  • Small IT infrastructure required
  • Easy to share data and applications across several sites
  • Suits people working in different locations

Our cloud server-based options are available alongside web browser based applications and handheld apps to give a comprehensive range of solutions for people who need to work on the move.

Demonstrations and prices for all these options are available on request.

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Care record management, Care recording, Cleaning management, Domiciliary care and supported living, Rota software, 0 comments

Staffing supported living services more efficiently with an electronic rota

St Joseph's Services provide a wide range of supported living services

Providing supported living services efficiently and cost-effectively requires meticulous staff management – especially when it comes to organising the rota. So it’s not surprising that the care provider featured in our latest case study, St Joseph’s Services, found fulfilling its complex range of services using a paper-based rota system time-consuming and unwieldy.

As business and support manager Eddy McGregor explains, the limitations of the staff rota system also affected the coverage the organisation was able to provide.

“The paper-based rota was time consuming to prepare, inflexible and did not provide sufficient detail to ensure effective coverage of contracts,” he says. “It was clearly an area where we could make improvements by using new technologies.”

Flexibility to deal with different care models

After looking at a number of electronic rota systems, St Joseph’s settled on easyLog’s e-Log software – because it offered the flexibility to function across both community care services and the care home sector. Eddy decided to pilot the rota management software in one of the organisation’s most complex service areas, Housing Support, which encompasses the two elements involved in all its other services – 24-hour support in one location and mixed support at various locations.

The new rota system was a success from the start. As well as being easy to set up and use, it has helped St Joseph’s cut costs, allocate staff more efficiently and improve record keeping.

“e-Log has enabled us to allocate staff to individual clients more effectively, allowing us to fulfil contracts, eliminate dead time, reduce overtime and costs, and report accurately and in good time to our funders,” Eddy concludes. “We are now working to roll out the system across the whole of St Joseph’s.”

Using the easyLog electronic rota software

Using the easyLog electronic rota software

Posted by administrator in Domiciliary care and supported living, Rota software, 0 comments

Care Recording: Be practical and clear for your care staff

One of the key benefits our care sector clients describe about their implementation of our care record management software is the facility to define their own recording phraseology for their care staff. On a practical level this feature means that the carer can be presented with recording options that are meaningful to them. This may be because the software is replacing previous manual documentation that has been used for many years or simply that the implementation has allowed the senior staff to present simplified expressions of more medical terms.

And practicality is key to the success our clients have seen in implementing care-Log+ especially in conjunction with the use of tablet PCs and the simplicity of the Carer App. This approach allows a care provider to capture the volume of recording that CQC Inspections now require. And because of the simple adaptation of technology that volume is achieved by the care staff as part of their usual care or shift notes regime.

As I mentioned earlier, the definition of the words that carers select is key. So a fluids chart could be defined in terms of millilitres or by ‘drunk whole cup’, ‘drunk half cup’, etc. Likewise a nutrition record can be phrased to include the option selected at any meal and the amount of food then consumed, such as ‘fully eaten’, ‘half eaten’, etc.

These recordings could be arranged in a single ‘nutrition’ or ‘fluid chart’ document (or evaluation record as it’s called in the software) or split across several documents organised by shift time. So for example, a carer could record the breakfast, mid-morning snack/drink and lunchtime intake in a shift note designed to record all activities from 8am to 2pm. The reporting options in care-Log+ enable a manager to collate all nutrition and/or fluid entries for any service user from any number of care recording documents into a single report. This becomes a vital tool during a CQC audit but also shows the practicality that was highlighted at the outset of this Blog. The main care recording documents can be organised to suit the needs of the service users and the care staff and do not have to be designed to second guess what questions a CQC Inspector may ask; if the recording has been done then the care-Log+ software can present the care records in any way required for audit purposes.

If you would like to discuss any functionality or issues raised in this blog please call one of our team on 01892 834406 or e-mail us on info@easylog.co.uk

Posted by administrator in Care home management, Care record management, Care recording, CQC Inspections, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, 0 comments

Recording care with objectivity, legibility and speed!

It goes without saying that in a CQC audit the Inspector will look for written proof of the care that has been provided. After all that is what an audit is about; select a small number of residents as sample cases and analyse their records. If any anomalies come to light then drill down further and possibly widen the audit to include other resident records.

But that means the care provider has to ensure their care staff are recording their shift notes in the quantity and quality required to provide the depth of record sets that an Inspector requests. Which brings to mind a number of obstacles. Handwritten notes can be subjective and may contain what could be regarded as inappropriate phraseology. Text such as ‘enjoyed a good day’ may be deemed meaningless as a record of the mood or care provision of the resident.  Additionally, recent years have seen an influx of overseas staff into the care sector. A percentage of these will have English as their second language which could present problems with the meaning and accuracy of the words used in care records. Beyond these concerns legibility would always be an issue from the mix of handwriting styles that carers bring with them and also, how contemporaneous the notes are without authoritative electronic means of time stamping.

Our care-Log+ care record management software addresses these areas by a two pronged approach. First, carers are presented with shift note documents that have multiple prompts each with a selectable option menu for them to record what happened across care needs such as continence, drinks taken, quantity of food consumed, etc. Additional text can be entered as well if a greater description is required. Second, care-Log+ presents these shift note documents on tablet PCs. With touch screen ease of use combined with placement in accessible  locations around the home, all recordings are automatically time and date stamped together with the user ID and then wirelessly added to the central database automatically.

The end result is that the required volume of records is achieved with objectivity and speed yet with reliability and accuracy that is fully auditable. In short, the balance between giving care and recording care is firmly restored in favour of what carers are actually employed to do.

If you would like to discuss any functionality or issues raised in this blog please call one of our team on 01892 834406 or e-mail us on info@easylog.co.uk

 

 

Posted by administrator in Care home management, CQC Inspections, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, 0 comments

Care recording in volume for a CQC Inspection audit; exception reporting for practical care intervention

This series of blogs focuses on the particular aspects of our care-Log+ care record management software that assist care providers to prove the care they have delivered in structured record sets. Above all we want to describe how the functionality of the software helps you deliver an auditable trail for inspection by any regulatory body.

In our previous blog (blog on recording for a CQC Inspection) we wrote about the detail and volume of information that it appears a care home may be audited on in a CQC Inspection. Nutrition and fluid records seem to be a particular focus as inspectors try to ascertain that the care home is providing correct input of both – and evidencing this by their records.

We remarked how users of our care-Log+ care record management system were able to satisfy the volume of their record keeping needs, whilst not losing focus on the fact that their care staff are employed to care rather than be administration clerks, in two ways: First, through the facilities care-Log+ offers to define the care records that the management team want the care staff to record. So fluid intake could be defined in terms of millilitre bandings (‘less than 20ml’, ’20ml – 40 ml’, ‘more than 40 ml’ for example) or by description such as in the example of an evening drink with ‘few sips’, ‘half taken’, ‘all taken’, ‘declined’. Secondly, the care staff can quickly record these notes not at a PC (although of course the option exists to do this) but on a wirelessly connected tablet PC that is either carried by the carer or wall-mounted in convenient locations around the home such as in the dining room or lounge.

However, by giving carers an easy and accessible method of recording their shift notes, haven’t we just created another mountain of records to look through only in electronic form rather than paper-based? Well yes we have but there is an extra aspect of the recording functionality (that works with the defining of the prompts and dropdown options that the carer sees on the tablet) that makes care-Log+ a very pro-active care management tool that allows a focus on the exceptions.

That additional facility is the option to mark specific responses, if selected by the carer, as flagging alerts. So in the examples given earlier, the selection of ‘less than 20ml’ for fluid intake could be designated as an alarm and thus alert the management team that the resident has consumed an insufficient volume. A warning is immediately placed on their desktop and will also appear in the Shift Handover report. The software presents the alert in an alarm list. Clicking on a line will then take the senior or matron reviewing the alert flags to the shift note record and present options to enter additional comments, review associated care plans and/or health and risk assessments, add a care task that notifies the care staff on the tablet PC to be aware of a particular care need (such as ‘prompt to drink’ in this case) over a period of time (for example every day for the next week) and, if relevant, access the resident’s body map image.

In this way care-Log+ provides an exception-based environment in which records are gathered very easily and in the volume required through use of the tablet PCs, and then automatically filtered by the software between the few that require immediate review and the majority which are held for reporting as and when required in the future.

If you would like to discuss any functionality or issues raised in this blog please call one of our team on 01892 834406 or e-mail us on info@easylog.co.uk

Posted by administrator in Care home management, CQC Inspections, Domiciliary care and supported living, Nursing home management, 0 comments