Frontline Worker Series Part 1: How Technology Increases Operational Efficiency
By: Rick Taylor
“The Great Resignation” refers to the record number of people leaving their jobs since the pandemic began, and the senior living industry is feeling the effects. In a recent AHCA/NCAL analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data1, 6.7% of assisted living workers have left the industry since workers, that number increases to 1 in 5, according to a recent Morning Consult study. As a result, staff shortages have increased workloads and reduced resources on teams that are already stretched.
Although the reasons for the “Great Resignation” range from compensation and retirement; to exhaustion, stress and overwork, burnout is one of the biggest reasons for the problem. According to a recent Notable Health survey, 28% of healthcare and frontline workers have quit their job due to burnout. The best way to combat staff burnout is to make your staff more efficient and effective so that they have more time to do the work they love…interacting with residents. This requires rethinking how your staff works and the tools you use to improve efficiency, decrease redundancy, and reduce demands for non-value-added work. One of the best ways to do this is through technology.
“It is important for communities and operators to look at different ways to retain the staff they have and excite new staff to join their team. Technology additions can impact staff positively and very quickly,” Karen O’Hara, Director of Product Marketing for Sentrics, said in a recent interview with Senior Housing News.
Caregivers expect technology to do their jobs
“Caregivers expect to use technology today to do their jobs,” O’Hara, who worked as an executive director for several large senior living communities before joining Sentrics, added. “Manual processes that rely on pagers, pen and paper, and even paper charts, can actually hinder workflow and make the community less attractive to potential employees who expect technology to help them.”
Although our lives have become increasingly digital, many senior living communities still use pen and paper. This shows staff and frontline workers that they are not invested in giving team members fingertip access to information. Today’s workers are used to modern technology in their everyday lives, and they expect it to be available at work as well. The key to keeping staff happy and satisfied is to empower them with technology.
“The positive impacts of technology far outweigh implementation fears and are felt very quickly,” O’Hara says. “Fingertip access to valuable information about a resident’s care needs means that staff members don’t have to ask permission and confirm every decision.”
Technology improves staff efficiency by creating workflows
Communities often invest in multiple technologies, which can hinder productivity because the technologies can work against each other. When disparate technologies fight for footprint, they don’t share information and leave staff fetching for data or worse, seeing an incomplete picture about a resident’s care needs.
Integration is the biggest advantage technology can provide a senior living community. Your staff can gain a 360-degree view of your residents when your technology works together. When information is updated in one area, it is communicated in other areas. As a result, staff and frontline workers can anticipate issues and respond to problems faster than ever before.
“When we get EMR and life-safety technologies to work together and talk to each other, we can respond more effectively to an emergency call,” O’Hara says. “As information changes, it is updated automatically. That reduces the risk of error.”
Integration increases staff knowledge and removes guesswork from daily duties. Technology—such as discreet monitoring and proactive insights—also leads to better communication between staff and a reduction in incidents and fatalities. This helps companies better prepare for future challenges and developments.
“Integrated technology provides the entire senior living team with a better view of the residents’ physical, medical, social and behavioral needs,” she says. “This can prevent adverse incidents, decrease response times, and reduce risk and potential revenue loss.”
Technology reduces onboarding and training time for new employees
Now is the time to embrace new technology. High vacancies typically mean high training costs and inconsistent processes. Technology can guide new staff to follow the procedures you’ve defined, reducing the learning curve and improving protocol adherence.
“Front line employees respond to emergencies first, and they can’t be fumbling to find the information they need,” O’Hara says. “They need instant access to community protocols to follow and document consistent steps. When they have it, the result is better care for the resident and minimized risk for the community.”
Sentrics360SM game changing integrated suite provides the solution your community needs
“Communities don’t need to shy away from technology anymore,” O’Hara said. “They need technology today more than ever.” By leveraging technology, staff and frontline workers can increase efficiency, satisfaction, and retention. This may not completely alleviate the burden caused by the “Great Resignation,” but it will certainly help remaining staff pick up the slack without burning out and help new and temporary employees be productive quickly. With the help of new technologies, stressed and short-staffed teams can get back to doing what they do best, helping residents live their best lives.
To help you and your teams maximize your technology investment, the Sentrics360 suite leverages state-of-the-art technology to create an integrated, 360-degree view of resident needs, helping staff gauge the physical, medical, social, and behavioral status of each resident’s health and wellbeing. Four fully integrated components—Ensure360SM, Engage360SM, Entertain360SM, and Enrich360SM—make up this groundbreaking, integrated suite of solutions. Together they help senior living operators provide proactive care, build trust and confidence with family members, and engage residents fully to create a healthier, happier experience.