When speaking with families about home care, I always explain the importance of our care provider tracking system. It is called telephony and it tracks the exact time our aides start and finish their shifts. It creates accountability and gives management a clear view of what is happening in the field. The system is based on caller id so that we know that the care provider is calling from the client’s home. Our aide calls a toll free number at the beginning and end of her shift. If an aide is late, all managers receive a text message on our cell phones. We then find out where the aide is, make sure the client is ok and inform them what time to expect the care provider. Most times when we call the client after a late alert the aide is there and just forgot to clock in.
Some other benefits of the system include the fact that we regularly run reports on each aide, which helps us weed out aides who are late too frequently. Also, we base our payroll and billing off of the system, so timecards are not necessary. We believe it is not fair to make a client “sign off” on their aide’s hours. What if the care provider was late and the client was uncomfortable about “docking” their pay or “telling on” them? We believe that it is our job to manage our aide’s promptness, not our client’s job.
At North River Home Care, we are on the cutting edge of technology and training. Our interview process is extremely rigorous, we only employ a small fraction of the people who apply for jobs with us. We have high expectations of ourselves and our employees, we pay at the highest end of the range for home health aides because we want to attract and retain the best aides.
In spite of all this, the unfortunate fact is that people are sometimes late. They get caught in traffic, oversleep, or get sick. What’s important is the contingency plan the agency has in place. Backup systems are necessary.
This morning, I was again reminded why we spend the money for our telephony system. I was awakened at 6:00am by my cell phone “alert” (set to a really annoying ring, just ask my husband). Our care provider failed to clock in for a 6:00am start. I called her immediately to find out where she was. She forgot that daylight savings started today and was still in bed. Luckily, she lives close to the client and could get there quickly. I then called the client to inform them of the situation.
This particular aide has never been late before – they just don’t make people more dependable, caring and compassionate. The fact that she was late illustrates that in this field the unexpected sometimes happens – people are human and make mistakes. A good backup plan is critical to providing excellent care.
If you or someone you love needs home care assistance, please call 781-659-1366. We provide in home elder care, personal care, companion care, respite care, errands, transportation, home helper and senior helper services, all types of non-medical senior care. A family owned and operated company based in Norwell, Massachusetts; we serve the South Shore including most of Plymouth and Norfolk Counties. We provide live in home care throughout the Greater Boston area, including Cape Cod.