In this series, Carrie and Kell look at Holiday Planning for Aged Care services in rural and remote areas. It’s all about doing some preparation. We’ll be looking at client-related issues, staffing areas, organisational or service-level tasks and finish up with looking at how you can best use the quiet Christmas and New Year period to catch up and put yourself in a good position for the coming year.

Service Operations Planning – Are You Ready?

In this third podcast we look at the important things to keep in mind for your service operations planning when preparing for the Christmas & New Year period. So here are some of the things you’ll need to consider when planning for this time of year.

What is your organisation’s stand on working over the Christmas & New Year period?

  • Your organisation may have a policy that staff don’t work between Christmas and New Year. This is fine, but vulnerable clients still need to be supported – how will you manage this?
  • New senior management may not be aware of Approved Provider obligations or be looking at the bottom line; they may not want to pay staff to work over a public holiday or just assume that everyone will go on leave – how will you manage this?
  • Remember that the Home Care Package (HCP) covers the needs of the individual 365 days a year, so make sure your service is prepared to provide this level of support should they require it.
  • Keep in mind that other services that your consumers might rely on in the community (such as the local shop or clinic) could be closed during this time.
  • Christmas and New Year both fall on a Monday this year, so businesses could be closing their doors on the Friday 22nd of December and not returning until Tuesday 2nd of January. That’s 10 days where clients may not be able to access their usual services around the community – the clients come first and it is the centre’s duty of care to ensure their care is maintained.

If you are shutting down for an extended period (and outsourcing support or meals for that time) what is your shutdown procedure?

  • You need to think about fridges and freezers, you don’t want to come back to an almighty mess where the meat has defrosted and it’s been 45 degrees in the shade.
  • Additional attention applied to specific areas of the kitchen or centre that may attract vermin or require additional cleaning.
  • Move the fridges and freezers and clean behind them, it’s amazing what you’ll find.
  • Review your food safety plan and see if you have completed all the ‘three-monthly’ cleaning tasks.
  • Leave the place spotless before going on leave and it will be so much nicer on your return.

How is your emergency plan?

Every organisation should have an emergency plan in the case of cyclone, flood or fire and I would also add, extreme temperatures. What happens if the temperature doesn’t drop below 48 degrees for a month? What happens to the service during this time – can your coolrooms and fridges handle this?

If your organisation has an emergency plan make sure you have a copy of it and you and other staff members know what to do.

If you are in a cyclone prone area, or a location where you are likely to be cut off for an extended period of time due to flooding or cultural reasons:

  • do you have emergency packs on hand for clients?
  • have you stocked up on non-perishables?
  • do you have enough continence aids on hand for identified clients?

It’s a good idea to sit with local staff and run through all the things that have happened in the past and come up with some ideas of how you might address the issue – an ‘if this, then we’ll do that’ activity that local staff often enjoy working through.

Want more information on getting your service ready for the end of year period?

Check out the rest of the Care Directions Podcast episodes in this series:

Episode 017: Client Care Considerations

Episode 018: How Do Your Staffing Levels Look?

Episode 020: Quiet Time Opportunities

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Carrie and Kell

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