Rotations. Working in health care, this is a term that we can’t get away from. But a new project at Richmond Lions Manor-Bridgeport (RLMB) is looking at care aid rotations in a new light—to find ways to create an enhanced continuum of care for residents and engage staff in creating a schedule that works for them. In celebration of Health Care Assistant Day, we’re sharing the story of how this project came to be.

Creating enhanced consiste​ncy for residents

The previous rotation schedule of care aids at RLMB had staff rotating between different floors around the building—so they were constantly working in different areas and with different residents. But after collecting feedback from staff, residents and their families—and comparing the findings to best practices in the industry—it was clear some changes needed to be made to help both our residents and our staff.

“We know from research that consistency makes a difference when working with residents with dementia and cognitive challenges,” says Jo-Anne Kirk, manager of RLMB. “So we embarked on a collaborative process with our staff, families, and the union to determine the best way forward.”

Working in partnership with care aids, resident family members, human resources, as well as the HEU Care Aides Employees Union, the team conducted conversations to determine their priorities. Staff wanted consistency in their shifts, while families wanted to see more consistency with the care aides looking after their loved ones. Staff were asked to provide preferences in terms of work locations and based on seniority, preferences, and fit, a new rotation was put together to better meet everyone’s needs.

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“All care aides have preferences in shifts—this is usually connected to helping them achieve a health work-life balance. Having a shift that works best for them is a huge stress relief,” says Carolyn Unsworth, servicing representative for HEU.

Care aide Melanie Monteflor, says being involved in a conversation about the new rotation schedules was a collaborative process and she appreciated being able to provide her top three choices of assignments and was able to select an area of work where she felt comfortable.

“The change has been nice because I don’t need to go to other floors—I’m working with a smaller, and more consistent team of staff,” she says. “But the change has been even better for residents because I can now give consistent care with the same residents—get to know them, their routines, social and medical history, which is important in delivering good patient care. Knowing my residents means I can be flexible in providing care based on their needs and I can build better connection them and their families.”

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