Increasing independence while maximizing staff resources
Utilizing technology supports in care plans is not a new phenomenon – but is an option that is becoming more mainstream as the independence benefits for persons-served and staffing constraints for organizations are realized.
Eight years ago, Dungarvin began implementing alternative overnight supervision when they realized the workforce was becoming more and more limited. As people served were expressing a stronger desire to be more independent, Dungarvin staff thought through scenarios on how to navigate both the independence desire and how they would provide services in the future. Technology was their answer.
Through the implementation of alternative overnight supervision, Dungarvin was able to reduce on-site full-time overnight staff for eleven homes while maintaining the same level of care and supervision. What once took 15 staff to accomplish is now able to be covered by four. This allowed for previous overnight sleep staff to be more actively engaged in helping people at other times of the day.
How did they do it? Prior to implementation, Dungarvin staff spent several months documenting the needs that arose at night so they could get a better understanding of scenarios that would come up as well as needs of residents during the night shifts. Residents now have silent call buttons that they press when they need assistance instead of loud buzzers that their housemates might hear, which helps increase privacy. The call buttons alert awake float staff that they want or need assistance. Sensors placed throughout homes also help to notify staff if there may be a problem, as well as track care activity throughout the evening.
Not only did investing in the technology help Dungarvin maintain their staffing needs, but gave residents, like Jamie Jensen and Lauren Ireland, the independence and privacy they appreciate. “It’s 100 percent worth it” was Jamie Jensen’s reply when asked his opinion on the transition to technology supports.