Establishing routines in your community can have substantial impacts on both staff and residents. In this post, we’ll be looking at consistent assignment, when staff members routinely care for the same residents (in 80% of their shifts), and how this can create lasting benefits in your community. Consistent assignment can have profound impacts on staff retention, resident engagement and satisfaction, referrals, overhead reduction, and more. Let’s take a look.
While a rotating staffing method may make things like filling in a call out easier, it can also prove to be a hindrance to relationship building between staff and the residents in their care. Staff members in the senior living space often get involved, and stay involved, in the field because they care about their residents and because they genuinely want to make a difference, however a rotating schedule doesn’t always allow for this kind of relationship building. Having staff members routinely care for the same individuals allows for deeper connections which can lead to better staff retention and more satisfied residents.
Being able to establish long-standing relationships with residents is directly correlated to job satisfaction for staff members; as staff members bond more with their residents, job satisfaction increases and vice versa. An increase in satisfaction is, in part, due to relationship building, but is also influenced by ease of job duties. When staff are scheduled using the consistent assignment method, they spend less time figuring out how to care for their residents (think about familiarizing yourself with a new resident, having to figure out resident personalities, etc.). There’s no surprise that staff members who are more content with their jobs are more likely to stay, providing a feedback loop: Deeper relationships leading to happier staff which provides more opportunities to develop those connections with their residents.
Better Care and Resident Satisfaction
Along with the development of deeper relationships and job satisfaction comes better care provided to the residents in your community. In many communities, the relationship between caregivers and their residents is akin to that of a family member and because of this, staff are more likely to offer up better care. With a rotating staff assignment, both staff and residents find it harder to connect with each other as the care provided in senior housing is often intimate and personal. Additionally, a more routine staffing schedule allows caregivers to pick up on subtle resident behaviors that could indicate a problem.
Better care for residents has deep implications on overall resident satisfaction and, as we know, the more satisfied residents are with the care they receive, the more likely they are to recommend your community to family and friends.
In a 2015 study, it was found that “The stronger the sense of camaraderie independent living residents had with others in their community, the more positive they were about living in the community ...as residents’ sense of camaraderie increased, so did their willingness to recommend the community to family and friends…”
So while consistent staff assignment may not be the complete solution for the problems we face in the senior living space, it is definitely worth giving thought to. From propagating relationship building to resident satisfaction and referral rate, consistent scheduling can lead long-term benefits for your community.