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The Heat Is On
This weekend the summer solstice is set to take place, marking the first day of the summer season with the longest hours of daylight. The nights start closing in and summer becomes just a fragment of our imagination as the autumn rapidly approaches.
The briefness of our summers means that every sunny day should be celebrated and enjoyed.
But those sunny days just fill me with dread. I audibly groan at the first glance of the sun. The sun comes out and the staff seem to disappear.
Advance planning is critical
After years of fraught, hectic, stressful, summers I’m learning that the trick is to plan for summer as early as you can.
- Recruit, recruit, recruit - universities are a good place to start advertising to those indviduals who are lucky enough to have a long break with not much else to do.
- Ask all staff to put in their holiday requests by a certain date, as after that date annual leave will only be granted in special or emergency circumstances. This should help us to plan alternative cover as quickly as possible.
- We already employ a small team of emergency response workers, but they themselves want to take leave. The senior care staff have been approached to see if they want to volunteer for any extra shifts and work in an emergency response capacity to strengthen and support the team in order to cope with high levels of absenteeism.
- Office staff who usually work Monday to Friday have been asked if they want to volunteer for a shift at the weekends to help answer the increase in telephone calls. There are 8 weekends in total over this summer period.
- Frequent absentees will be receiving a phone call reminding them of the genuine and critical need for care over the coming weeks with a hope they will be mindful of that.
- Regular carers off + different carers coming = rise in complaints. I will try to anticipate this by letting Service Users know as early as possible who will be coming in replacement and approximately when.
There are occasions during peak holiday times when continuity goes to pot. It would be wonderful to have a team of carers on standby sat in the office twiddling their thumbs, waiting to cover holidays and sickness absence. The reality is that existing staff who are already out working will be relied upon to cover extra calls. The downside is that the Service User may have 4 or 5 different carers when their regular is absent. When there are low levels of staff available, you do your best to limit the disruption to the service, but it becomes nigh on impossible.
Am I just the only one counting down the days until the summer ends??!