Photograph of a physiotherapist using SOAP note software Charting plus on the beach

How to Get Shift Coverage During the Holidays

July 25, 2018 | Article | By: Sara Hodgins

We are in the heart of holiday season, patients and clinicians alike are in their holiday mode. In the next couple of months, many PT, OT, RMT, and DCs are taking their much-needed time off. While you or your therapists are relaxing on a beach somewhere, or just enjoying time off at home, it is essential that your patients are taken care of in the clinic and still receiving the excellent care they’ve come to expect!

If you don’t plan ahead, managing shift coverage at your clinic can be a nightmare that results in patients falling off and lost revenue. The last thing you want is for you or your clinicians to return from vacation to an empty schedule. But all of that can be avoided by preparing for clinicians' holiday, just follow these steps to keep your patients well cared for in your absence.

Plan Ahead for Shift Coverage

Shift coverage is the most critical piece in planning for a therapist's holidays as it ensures continuity of care for your patients. The earlier you know about the vacation, the better! Be proactive and set a clinic policy for time-off requests, so you know about vacations well ahead of time. 

Schedule Floaters

Floaters are therapists who don’t work a set schedule at your clinic but are available to cover vacations and sickness. If you have the ability, try to schedule floaters to work some of your vacationers' shifts. If you don’t have access to floaters, try to have existing therapists pick up some extra hours to accommodate your patients.

Pick the Right Hours for Coverage

You don't need to cover every second of every day, and it is unlikely that you are going to find coverage for every hour that a clinician will be gone, but the good news is, you don’t need to! You only need to secure coverage staff for the most popular appointment times in your clinic's schedule.

Make Things as Easy as Possible for your Coverage Staff

According to the Canadian Medical Association, as many as 50% of doctors’ notes are illegible, and we're sure the same is true for rehabilitation therapists too. Make sure your teams' SOAP chart notes are legible so covering clinicians can continue care plans. Having a user-friendly Electronic Medical Record system in place that is integrated with a schedule, such as InnoCare’s Charting+, will ensure your coverage staff can keep up and provide continuous care for your patients.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

Ensure that your patients know that you are going to be on holidays, that there will be someone else treating in your stead, and that the hours of operation of the clinic are going to be different. There are many ways to do this, including telling your patients face-to-face, changing your voicemail during the holiday time, and updating your website and Google listing with the clinic's vacation hours. You can also invest in an after-hours call service to ensure that even though you aren’t there, your patients are still reaching a live person that can assist them, such as InnoCare Connect.  

Holidays should be a time to relax, not to worry about what is happening at the clinic in your absence! By following these steps, you’ll be able to enjoy your time off knowing that your patients are well cared for!