Rostering in aged care facilities can be challenging due to the complex care requirements, limited staff availability, compliance with regulations, balancing skill sets, accommodating staff preferences, managing unexpected absences, and maintaining effective communication. 

Overcoming these challenges requires careful planning, collaboration, and the use of appropriate tools and processes. 

Here are some tips to help you with rostering in aged care:

1. Understand Care Needs.

Get to know the specific care needs of each resident. This includes their medical conditions, mobility limitations, dietary requirements, medication schedules, and other individual needs. 

This understanding will help you allocate the appropriate staff with the necessary skills for each shift.

2. Determine Staffing Requirements.

Assess the required staff-to-resident ratio based on regulatory guidelines and the individual needs of the residents. Consider factors such as the acuity level of residents, the time needed for care tasks, and any specialised care requirements. 

This will help you determine how many staff members are required for each shift.

3. Establish a Fair and Transparent Process.

Develop a clear and fair process for allocating shifts and communicate it to your staff. 

This may involve a rotating schedule, a request-based system, or a combination of both. Ensure that your team understands how the process works and feels transparent and equitable.

4. Consider Staff Preferences and Availability.

Consider your staff's preferences and availability when creating the roster. Some employees may have specific preferences regarding shift timings or days off. 

You can improve staff morale and job satisfaction by accommodating their preferences as much as possible.

5. Balance Workload and Skills.

Distribute workload evenly among your staff members, taking into account their skills, experience, and certifications. 

Ensure that shifts are adequately staffed with the right combination of skills to meet resident needs. Avoid overloading certain employees with excessive shifts or assigning them tasks beyond their capabilities.

6. Plan for Contingencies.

Develop contingency plans for unexpected staff absences, such as illness or emergency leave. 

Maintain a pool of backup staff or agency workers to cover these shifts when needed. A contingency plan helps ensure continuity of care and minimizes disruptions.

7. Use Rostering Software or Tools. 

Consider using specialised rostering software or tools to streamline the process. These tools can help you manage schedules, track staff availability, and automate rostering tasks. 

They can also assist with generating reports and ensuring compliance with labour regulations.

8. Seek Feedback from Staff.

Regularly seek feedback from your staff regarding the rostering process. Encourage employees to share their suggestions, concerns, and ideas for improvement. 

By involving your team in the process, you can identify areas for enhancement and foster a collaborative and supportive work environment.

9. Monitor and Adjust.

Continuously monitor the effectiveness of your rostering system. 

Keep track of critical metrics, such as staff turnover, overtime hours, and resident satisfaction, to identify any areas that need adjustment. Regularly review and update the rostering process based on feedback and changing needs.

10. Ensure Payroll Compliance.

Adding to the complexity is the need to ensure employees are correctly paid including overtime and penalties as required as part of the Aged Care Award [MA000018] or similar Enterprise Agreements. 

Try using an automatic award interpretation tool to remove human error and reduce administration costs. 

Remember, effective rostering is crucial for ensuring the delivery of quality care in aged care facilities.

By considering the needs of residents and staff and implementing efficient processes, you can optimize the rostering system and promote a positive work environment.

Have Questions?

We Have The Answers

What are the main challenges of rostering in aged care facilities?

Rostering in aged care is challenging due to complex care requirements, limited staff availability, regulatory compliance, balancing skill sets, accommodating staff preferences, managing unexpected absences, and maintaining effective communication.

How can understanding care needs improve rostering in aged care?

Understanding each resident's specific care needs, including medical conditions and medication schedules, helps allocate appropriate staff with the necessary skills, ensuring high-quality care and efficient staff utilisation.

Why is a fair and transparent rostering process important?

A fair and transparent rostering process ensures all staff understand how shifts are allocated, fostering trust, reducing conflicts, and promoting a positive work environment.

How do staff preferences impact rostering in aged care?

Considering staff preferences for shift timings or days off can improve morale and job satisfaction, leading to higher staff retention and a more cooperative workplace.

What strategies can help manage unexpected staff absences in aged care facilities?

Developing contingency plans, maintaining a pool of backup staff or agency workers, and having clear procedures for emergencies ensure continuity of care during unexpected absences.

How can rostering software benefit aged care facilities?

Rostering software can streamline scheduling, track staff availability, automate tasks, generate compliance reports, and reduce errors, making the rostering process more efficient and accurate.

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