Almost every hospital across the country have listed “patient care” as a key focus in their strategic plans.
Some have even listed enabling and engaging staff as another focus. In a developed country like Australia, improved patient care is a constant focus in the healthcare industry. As a result, innovative and indirect solutions are required to achieving this goal.
KidsCo run unique school holiday programs in the convenience of workplaces. Last year we ran a KidsCo program at a hospital located in Queensland during the September holiday period which allowed staff to refrain from taking leave.
This initiative has been used as an example of an outside the box solution to the common first world problem that hospitals face. In the lead up and during the school holiday periods, working parents enter what is known as “the stress zone”. This involves thinking about what to do with the kids during this period and how to afford it. As a result, this worry and stress causes disengagement at work as staff, while physically present, are mentally absent.
“This to us means more than just keeping people at work. It means we really demonstrate that we care about our staff and we care about our community.” – Luke Worth, Executive Director
The innovative and indirect approach to improving patient care is to focus on employee well-being. Employers are looking to understand the different pain points of staff and how they can alleviate the common dilemmas employees’ face.
How did KidsCo’s service help achieve this?
We tailor our services to the organization. Hospitals are different in their make-up and operations compared to that of any other workplace. Here are 3 main areas we focused on in tailoring our program to the hospital:
Adequate space within a hospital to run a program is a common roadblock for most hospitals and healthcare institutions. Therefore, to accommodate the number of children attending the programs, KidsCo and sourced space at the local school located under 1km away from the hospital.
Hours that work for the healthcare industry
After finding that many shift workers were unable to use the service as they began work earlier than 8:45am or finished later than 5:00pm, KidsCo adjusted operating hours to be from 6:00am – 6:00pm.
KidsCo Teacher: Child Policy
The national standard for teacher to student ratio is 1:15. KidsCo ensure a maximum ratio of 1:10 to ensure every students receives extra attention.
“When I went to pick my girls up, they didn’t want to leave! They had a wonderful time.” – Dr. Chaitanya Kotapati (Registrar)
The Result: Reduction in external agency use by 443 hours.
Over the holiday period, the hospital saw a reduction in external agency use by 443 hours with each KidsCo day reaching it’s capacity of 50 children attending and waiting lists required. With the hospital subsidizing a portion of the program cost, working parents were paying $20 a day for their child to attend. At this cost, staff weren’t forced to take unwanted to leave or find alternative arrangements for their children.
How did this improve patient care?
The Queensland hospital saw a 35% reduction in paid leave across the 2 week period. This meant that shift workers were able to maintain their regular shifts and attend to regular patients. Reduce stress in staff allowed them to feel more mentally present and attentive to patients.
We are so proud to have been able to assist the hard working parents in the hospital and healthcare sector with our world first solution to the on-going problem to improve patient care.
Click here to watch what fun we got up to with our partner hospital in Queensland!