St. James Manor uses app to meet extra nursing needs during pandemic

St. James Manor in Crete, Illinois, offers 24-hour skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care and long-term services. St. James follows U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for keeping residents and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and is committed to recommending vaccinations against the virus for them.

THE PROBLEM

The manor has a large staff of certified nursing assistants (CNAs), LPNs and RNs who care for residents within four separate units. With the virus spreading throughout the community to nursing homes, the facility has doubled down on infection control work. Plus, it has focused on training and retraining staff and residents to help address the spread of the virus.

“Managing our staff during the pandemic became a challenge,” said Tiffany Hardy, LPN, assistant director of nursing at St. James Manor. “Residents needed more acute-care and safety precautions, while our staff needed to be healthy. The staff also needed some relief to provide continued coverage of residents during this pandemic.”

The manor experienced call-outs from staff members who were either sick, in quarantine or overworked. Tracking COVID-19 testing and the results of the tests for staff became an additional challenge in managing the facility.

PROPOSAL

To help support its operation, St. James Manor turned to staffing company ShiftMed, which uses electronic communications, IT and a mobile app in its work.

“They provide us access to qualified healthcare professionals who are certified and available to fill open shifts,” Hardy said. “Their portal allows multiple users to have access to the more than 300,000 healthcare professionals within their system. We have multiple accounts to help each facility manage the individual staffing needs of each unit at St. James Manor.

“The portal gives us a high-level view of all upcoming shifts on one unified page. We don’t have to go back and forth with the caregiver to confirm their shift. We can review and confirm shifts anytime, anywhere.”

Tiffany Hardy, LPN, St. James Manor

“The credentialing packet helps us track the COVID-19 testing and results of all tests of all the caregivers provided by ShiftMed,” she continued. “ShiftMed is able to adhere directly to the constantly changing requirements of the State Health Department for COVID-19 screening and allow St. James Manor to easily provide to the state the status of all healthcare professionals screening.”

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

ShiftMed works to recruit, hire and onboard credentialed medical professionals so that St. James Manor has shifts covered. Their staffing system helps the manor predictably staff up and down based on its needs.

“Using ShiftMed, we submit our needs for staff via phone, text or email,” Hardy explained. “If we get a call-out in the middle of the night, we can submit these needs immediately and have resolution when we need it. Hundreds of credentialed healthcare professionals are instantly alerted to the open shifts. Caregivers can accept the shift that they prefer to work.”

When a shift is filled, electronic credentials of the nursing professional are verified and delivered to St. James Manor in advance. Healthcare professionals who consistently work at the facility get first choice, resulting in high continuity of care, Hardy added.

The ShiftMed mobile app pushes 12-hour, 6-hour and 1-hour reminders to the healthcare professional with up-to-the-minute GPS tracking. Healthcare professionals typically arrive on time. The app lets St. James staff know when the professionals enter the facility, thanks to the GPS.

Nursing supervisors, administration and schedulers all use the ShiftMed portal to post, confirm and guarantee shifts and download caregiver credentials. The state requires reporting of staffing metrics, which are easily obtained through the ShiftMed app, Hardy added.

RESULTS

“It is important that we can identify the most-needed shift and resource type – for example, overnight CNAs [are] needed more than daytime LPNs,” Hardy said. “St. James Manor was able to see the most-needed shift to support appropriately.

“Managing the schedule through the portal has provided a solution that allows everyone to see the same information in real time,” she continued. “The portal gives us a high-level view of all upcoming shifts on one unified page. We don’t have to go back and forth with the caregiver to confirm their shift. We can review and confirm shifts anytime, anywhere. Whether we are working on the floor or at the scheduling desk, we can access the portal from a mobile phone or desktop computer.”

ADVICE FOR OTHERS

Healthcare provider organizations need to use automated scheduling software, because managing shifts manually is almost impossible today, especially with the coronavirus pandemic, Hardy advised.

“Many caregivers are afraid to come to work because of the virus,” she concluded. “With a scheduling solution that connects to hundreds of thousands of available, credentialed caregivers, your facility will be able to fill open shifts quickly and accurately.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bsiwicki@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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