I’m fully aware that we’re only mid-March, but with us all juggling recruitment, the impact of COVID and day-to-day life, it won’t be long until Easter is upon us. In next week’s column, I’ll be sharing some of my top Easter activities, but until then, here are some tips to get your service ready.
Let the preparations begin
If you haven’t done so, get your rotas sorted and sent out to your teams – this will mean that staff can make plans over the Easter period.
Understandably, some of your team would prefer to spend time with their families than working, but as social care is a 24-hour role, someone will have to cover shifts. But you can definitely reduce the impact of this
You can consider:
- Enhanced pay (if this is possible for your service)
- Time off in lieu
- Ensuring staff get one of the three bank holidays off
- Allocating annual leave
- Swapping shifts
- Noting who’s done what shifts, so next year the allocations can be different.
COVID is still among us with staff and service users having to self-isolate. It’s important to have a plan should staff be off sick – one idea would be to have on-call staff, who are paid a retainer.
If something is going to go wrong, you can bet it will be on a bank holiday when other services are reduced. Now is the time to dig out your contingency plan, do a dummy run and check everything is in place, and review as necessary. This should cover:
- Adverse weather, considering both hot and cold weather
- Building issues, such as lifts, laundry, catering etc.
- Equipment failure
- Fuel shortages
- IT and electrical failure
- Quality issues
- Staff absences and self-isolation
- Supplier failure
- Terrorist incidents
- Utility failures, such as boilers, heating, water etc.
As always, the list isn’t exhaustive.
"It’s great to see so many managers and care services talking about Easter!"
Gifts and cards
It’s important to ensure that any Easter Cards and gifts that need wrapping and posting are done in the next three weeks, so they arrive at their destinations with plenty of time.
Visiting in care homes
Last year, many care homes had to shut their doors due to the number of COVID cases, with residents not being able to see their loved ones. This year, it’s great to see so many managers and care services talking about Easter!
Speak to the people you support about how they want to spend Easter and fulfil their wishes and choices as best as possible. For example, they may need your help to write a letter or card or make a telephone call on the day. If your service isn’t having indoor visits, you could plan for outdoor visits (with a heater!).
With several bank holidays across the Easter period, lots of supermarkets and suppliers will be closed. So, be sure to stock up on all the things you need, like food and drink, PPE, activity supplies and first aid equipment etc.
Most importantly, don’t forget to order repeat prescriptions. Your local pharmacist is always your first point of call for this but if you need any advice, 111 is available 24/7, even on Easter Sunday. If you’re supporting people in the community, it’s equally as important to make sure they’ve stocked up medication to see them through the bank holiday weekend.
An ever-growing list
With so much to think about, it can be incredibly overwhelming to juggle everything (we’re all human at the end of the day). I always find prioritising what needs doing helps me keep on top of everything. I usually do this by:
- Having a list of all my tasks
- Identifying what’s important – what am I trying to achieve?
- Prioritising based on importance and urgency
- Avoiding competing priorities
- Considering effort needed
- Reviewing the list and being realistic.