Housekeeping is one of the most important aspects of care home management to get right. This is for all sorts of reasons, from ensuring excellent hygiene and infection control to maintaining staff and residents’ morale. Housekeeping covers more than keeping facilities and rooms clean and tidy. Tasks also include laundering and ironing sheets and clothes and restocking essential kitchen and bathroom supplies. The team must also sanitise everywhere, keep communal areas safe from trailing wires and clutter and ensure the home is in good repair.
All of these tasks and more take an entire team of dedicated people to fulfil to a high standard week in, week out. Housekeeping staff need to know when and where they are on duty, how to sign in and out of shifts and how to reorder supplies that run out. For that, an effective care home management system is vital. Using a digital system can cut down on paperwork, admin and delays in sharing key information. In turn, this keeps residents safer, their families happier and employees more confident and supported in their work. Here are several ways in which care home management software can support the housekeeping functions of a busy care home:
Staff rotas and clocking in
The most organised housekeeping teams know exactly how many people, and which levels of expertise are required for each and every task. So, being able to plan who needs to be at work at any given time, and what they will be doing during their shift is vital. Rotas can be fixed weeks or even months in advance using care home management software. This gives plenty of time for people to find out when they are working and plan the rest of their time around their shifts. People can also use the system to swap shifts, if allowed, easily and effectively. Finally, having an electronic clocking in method ensures that accurate records can be kept and key health and safety protocols around knowing who is on site and for how long can be met.
HR and payroll
Closely linked to staff rotas are the HR and payroll functions that support employees in various ways. These include ensuring they are paid on time and helping them to understand their responsibilities and rights when working in the care home. Linking HR functions and payroll records to rotas and details of hours worked means that housekeeping staff can receive their remuneration in a timely and accurate way with clear records around pay and hours. Additionally, recruiting new housekeeping team members is simplified with an electronic care management system, as is sorting out admin around people leaving the company, organising holiday and sickness leave and recording overtime.
Task planning and meal scheduling
Another vital element of effective housekeeping is knowing what’s happening around the care home at any given time and understanding requirements for cleaning, tidying, re-ordering supplies etc. Digital planning software can allow users to manage events and activities within the home too, as well as work out arrangements for visitors including family members, medical specialists, therapists and entertainers. Additional activities and visitors can often require extra housekeeping in terms of rearranging room layouts, ordering extra meals or supplies and ensuring everyone on site is comfortable and safe. The same goes for meal planning. If the housekeeping team can see at a glance what meals are being planned and how many people are expected to attend, they can arrange for tables and chairs to be wiped and cleaned, place settings to be laid and clearing away afterwards to be covered.
Auditing and reporting
Finally, as with any function in a care home, housekeeping activities need to be monitored and audited regularly to ensure that all is running smoothly. They cover a wide range of elements, from staff performance, satisfaction and payroll status to procurement of supplies and maintenance of equipment like washing machines, irons and dishwashers. Storage needs to be appropriate and safe for housekeeping supplies.
All of this is carefully monitored by the CQC and other industry bodies, so accurate, up-to-date records must be kept. Doing this digitally saves a lot of time and effort for an already busy housekeeping team. Reports can be generated around multiple aspects of care home management and sent out instantly to wherever they are needed for audits and checks.