IN RESPONSE to the Unison report, Making Visits Matter, released on 29 September 2017, leading rostering software provider Webroster is issuing its call for the care industry to react and adopt artificial intelligence as a possible solution.
Nigel Gittins, managing director of the company that specialises in care industry workforce management solutions, comments: “Unison’s survey shows there is a serious issue with dissatisfaction amongst care workers. They feel like they are unable to do their jobs well and care for those in our society who are in a vulnerable position.”
The Daily Mail (29 Sept 2017 page 11) stated: “The survey of 1,000 workers found three-quarters feared they were compromising the dignity of those in their care because of the pressure to fit in too many visits”.
“That’s a staggering proportion of care staff but the issue is already widely acknowledged. We know home care businesses are balancing demands of providing quality care to a growing number of clients under tight cost-constraints. That’s all whilst trying to ensure staff are qualified, competent and satisfied,” explains Nigel.
With the report also stating that nine out of ten of those questioned felt they did not have time to chat to their clients, the industry urgently needs to find a solution.
“At Webroster, we strongly believe technology needs to be rapidly and more widely adopted in the care industry to help relieve the problem.
“It can sound futuristic but artificial intelligence is actually a hugely accessible and feasible solution that could offer a real contribution to solving the serious issues highlighted in the Unison report,” Nigel adds.
Artificial intelligence is a broad term used to describe computers performing tasks that normally require human input and intelligence.
“Take our Optimiser engine, for example. It was developed in a four year partnership with the University of Nottingham and employs artificial intelligence to mimic the decisions of a care coordinator.”
The module, currently undergoing its first customer trials, relies upon users specifying and weighting their priorities and values. Based on this input, Optimiser pulls data from the system to create a roster that is not only optimised to those values but to also give care workers adequate time with clients.
Nigel explains: “Artificial intelligence does not make the coordinator’s role redundant. Instead, it ensures there is consistency each time a roster is created – you know your business’ values are being reflected in each rota. That can be quality of care, cost-efficiencies, staff satisfaction or all of the above.
“It also means organisations can forward-forecast more effectively, looking at care requirements, staffing numbers and finances in advance; relieving some of the urgent issues highlighted by Unison.
“Technology has the potential to revolutionise how care is managed. In light of today’s report, it’s clear a solution is urgently needed and we strongly believe technology could, and should, play a real role in that.”