Taking the headache out of managing staff movement during COVID-19 🦠
Is your service prepared for new government restrictions minimising staff movement as part of the Winter Plan?
If you’re stressed out about scheduling staff don’t fret! We’ve got a framework for managing risk that will help you minimise staff movement over the winter months.
New government guidelines restrict staff movement in care services
In late December, the government announced new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. These restrictions included new provisions for adult care services to minimise staff movement between settings.
“The Government is therefore introducing legislation, by the end of the year, that requires care home providers to restrict all but essential movement of staff between settings in order to reduce transmission.” (para 79, Section: Protecting the NHS and the vulnerable)
We know that the past few months have been particularly tricky for care settings with staff illnesses, absences, and high vacancy rates. Minimising the movement of staff between settings may cause yet another headache for care providers.
How can you avoid the headache? Get organised with this simple action plan!
Get organised 🗂
As a result of these new restrictions, we’ve pulled together some advice from the experts at the Care Providers Alliance to create a risk management framework to help you deal with staff movement in your service. No more headaches here! 👍
Firstly, you’ll need to consider some of the main issues which will impact staff movement. Check out the four steps below to get organised before beginning your risk assessment.
- Are your contracts in order? You may need to change the terms and conditions of staff contracts in order to restrict staff to certain sites. This can be managed in the short term with careful planning. If contractual changes are necessary, they can be discussed.
- Do you have enough staff? You may need to recruit additional staff, which could take time. Providers will be required to use bank staff.
- Do you have COVID-19 rapid tests? Rapid tests could allow staff to move between services if necessary.
- Have you been vaccinated? The COVID-19 vaccine roll-out will be a big help with staff movement between settings.
Assess your risk and make a decision 🤔
Now that you’ve considered some of the big issues that could impact your staff, it’s time to start your risk assessments. Keep the following actions in mind while carrying them out:
- Identify which staff work across multiple settings and update their records monthly.
- Speak with staff about their other care roles. Add a condition into their contracts that require them to notify their employer if/when they undertake work in another care setting (including informal settings) during the pandemic.
- Continue to advertise vacancies and recruit new staff.
- Work with staff leaders to change staffing arrangements and working patterns.
- Hold one-to-one meetings with staff who work across multiple sites to discuss their options. They could change their working pattern to minimise movement between services for instance.
Additional Actions to Consider
That’s not all! Here are several other actions that can help you minimise staff movement in your care setting.
- Use the Infection Control Fund 2 to remunerate staff to work in a single care service.
- Discuss with your team whether you will be using agency staff. If so, attempt to negotiate exclusivity arrangements with the agency. This should include detailed agreements on testing, symptom checking and other infection control issues.
- Consider recruiting volunteers or relatives to become staff members during the pandemic, stationed exclusively at your service.
- If possible, research additional training, like medication administration, for your staff to undertake. This can reduce reliance on specific staff members.
- Consider the use of cohorting different groups of residents and the effect that these measures have on staff movement.
- Ensure that all relevant staff are tested to the agreed schedule. You should also consider the availability of lateral flow tests for high-risk staff on all shifts.
- Use the PPE portal to ensure all staff have sufficient PPE.
Considering the above actions should help you feel more prepared to make a decision around staff movement in your care service. We hope this framework helps ease some of the stress you may be feeling and, most importantly, helps keep you and your service users safe.
Need help? We’ve got your back 🤝
We’ve created a full, free packet of resources to help you deal with coronavirus. It’s packed with information and documents like key worker templates, visitation guidance, and so much more! Check it out by clicking here.
Got a question? Is there information or a document you think we could put together that would help your care service? Just pop us a note using the pink Chat button at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Our team will get back to you in a jiffy.