Schedulers are every agency’s backbone; they make sure care plans are realized as scheduled, great customer service is delivered, and both the caregivers’ and clients’ needs are met.
That is why it’s important for home care agencies to develop high-performance schedulers. They can ensure the smooth running of operations and help decrease the turnover rates many agencies face.
A HomeCarePulse study conducted in 2021 revealed that scheduling was among the top 10 complaints caregivers expressed when leaving an agency. Poor communication with the agency, inflexibility, insufficient hours, and lack of compatibility with clients were also reasons caregivers quit.
This article will discuss 8 ways home care agencies can develop high-performance schedulers.
1. Training schedulers on time management and organization
The most important skills a scheduler should have are time management and organization. Although they might come naturally to some people, they are also skills that can be developed.
Often, schedulers need to keep up with the schedules of a wide variety of clients as well as caregivers. Training schedulers in keeping up with their daily tasks can help them prevent important details from slipping through the cracks.
These daily tasks could be checking in with caregivers to make sure they are available for shifts, managing clients’ care plans, and matching them with caregivers who have the right skills.
Studies show that multitasking is counterproductive, so schedulers should plan their day ahead and have a list of tasks that they can individually get done instead of keeping up with many things at once.
2. Hiring people with the right skills and experience
There are certain qualities to look for when hiring schedulers. Schedulers should be patient and ready to handle conflict and complaints since they are the first point of contact when schedules need to be changed, or someone has a complaint.
Schedulers also need to be understanding and quick to come up with solutions. The best schedulers also have a good understanding of care plans and the work caregivers do.
It’s important to hire schedulers who either have experience dealing with a busy agency environment or people who naturally possess these qualities.
3. Cultivating an understanding of clients’ needs
Good customer service is incredibly important for home care agencies to stand out from the competition. An agency’s reputation is down to how well its clients are taken care of.
Schedulers who know the clients’ needs are better at matching them with the right caregiver. If the client is unhappy with their caregiver or is matched with a caregiver who doesn’t have the right skills, it causes problems for the agency.
Schedulers who have an understanding of people and empathy are more likely to match the right caregivers with the right clients, establishing long-term working relationships for the home care agency.
4. Teaching schedulers about care plans
When training schedulers, care plans are a must-have subject of study for schedulers to understand the reason behind the care, as well as its process.
Caregivers need to be aware of; the duration of care, the certificates required to provide certain care, the client’s health history and how it matches the care plan, and more.
5. Making sure schedulers know the rules and regulations
Requirements and regulations differ from state to state, and new regulations can come into effect every other year. Therefore, schedulers need to be aware of them before sending a caregiver to a client.
When mentioning care plans and matching the right caregiver with the right client, schedulers also need to know rules and regulations such as corporate compliance, client-agent-caregiver confidentiality, EVV, and HIPAA regulations.
This is especially important because of the nature of some tasks that caregivers perform.
6. Working on communication
Good communication between the client, the home care agency, and the caregiver is needed to manage clients’ expectations and improve caregivers’ performance.
Daily, home care schedulers have to contact different people, including caregivers, clients, clients’ families, management, and other staff members.
So, your schedulers should have a guideline on what to say in certain situations and should be naturally good at communicating with people.
Role-playing specific scenarios and training schedulers on communication can add another layer of trustworthiness and professionalism to your home care agency.
7. Building good relationship with caregivers
Since finding and retaining reliable caregivers is the home care industry’s most significant challenge, schedulers play an important role in caregiver retention.
They can help caregivers by providing them with flexibility and filling open shifts, making last-minute changes to their schedules, and communicating with clients on their behalf at times.
Schedulers who have a good working relationship with caregivers significantly improve the home care agency’s performance by resolving problems before they even arise.
8. Automating the process with technology
Last but not least, automating the most detailed scheduling tasks with technology can save schedulers time and divert their energy to improving scheduling operations.
Every home care agency has a variety of clients who require different types of care and caregivers with a wide range of experience and skills. Being able to see such essential information in one platform makes scheduling so much easier.
Smartcare Software’s user-friendly scheduling dashboard has a drag and drop feature that makes the scheduling and caregiver planning process simple.
Schedulers can automate the caregiver notification process, post and manage open shifts with automatic notifications, see the best client-caregiver matches, and minimize costs by using overtime alerts, and travel and wage insights.
Smartcare Software also enhances communication between your agency, clients, and caregivers because:
Smartcare Software takes the manual labor out of scheduling so schedulers can focus on who is important: your caregivers and clients.
Optimize your scheduling operations and minimize mistakes by using Smartcare Software. Smartcare is your technology partner, dedicated to helping your home care agency grow.
Developing high-performing schedulers takes time and investment, but has many benefits to agencies, such as reduced caregiver turnover, increased client/patient satisfaction, better running of agency operations, and improved reputation.