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4 Best Practices to Make Your Staffing Budget Foolproof

Written by: Vester Gravley on Friday, August 11, 2017 Posted in: Respiratory

The almost daily pressure to maintain or even lower staffing levels while also ensuring that patients are receiving safe, value based respiratory care is commonplace for today’s respiratory care manager.

Here are 4 best practices that will help determine the right amount of staff you need:

1. Count the Minutes

Procedures and work units are unreliable measures when measuring respiratory workload.  A vent is not a neb is not a cannula.  A minute value corresponding to the amount of time required to complete the modality task is universally considered best practice.  Counting minutes of therapy renders an accurate and comprehensive measure of total work.

2. Check the Forecast

Rather than putting one’s finger in the air to check the prevailing winds of daily patient care, forecasting workload based on minutes provides an ironclad snapshot of what needs to get done as a function of time. Many departments use automated systems. However, to achieve a competitive advantage, you will need a system that not only captures minutes of work for each active task but one that dynamically manages the process. For example, your system should link tasks to the related physician order information and alert therapists to order changes as well as to any new order tasks. This is a critical feature that helps ensure timely and quality patient care and ensures that you get real-time workload forecasts for the care you provide.

3. Make the Match

Estimating the workload is only half the battle!  Once workload has been calculated, making the match to workforce is where patient safety and department savings are realized.  And the match is easily made: 1 therapist working a full 8 hour shift provides productive therapy for roughly 420 minutes.  If my workload for the shift estimates to 5040 minutes then I will need a workforce of (5040/420 =) 12 therapist.  Matching minutes of work to minutes of workforce ensures renders your staffing budget foolproof.

4. Repeat

Doing the same failed thing over-and-over again, like counting procedures to determine workload, and expecting different results in common parlance is the definition of insanity.  But repeating proven processes time and time again, like estimating workload based on minutes of work and then matching workload to workforce every shift, is the very definition of success.