How to Roster Staff Effectively in Aged Care

aged care rostering

Most people will probably agree that creating staff rosters is no easy task – especially when it comes to rostering staff in an aged care facility.

Effective rostering in aged care is crucial to creating an environment that provides high quality and safety to residents, while also ensuring the health and wellbeing of staff. 

With all of these consideration factors at play while rostering in aged care, there is added pressure to “get it right” every time. These consideration factors include everything from maintaining the appropriate staff-to-patient ratio to ensuring fairness, sufficient distribution of skills and conformity to relevant regulatory frameworks.

Staff who are responsible for rostering duties need to keep these factors front of mind, each time they create a work roster or schedule – as an oversight could have a detrimental impact on patients, staff and the wider organisation.

Until recently, there hasn’t been much in the way of official rostering guidelines, training or education for staff who have rostering responsibilities in aged care. However, NSW Health recently developed their Rostering Resource Manual to provide health care providers with a top-level guide to better plan, devise and maintain rosters that meet patient, staff and organisational needs.


Aged care roster considerations

Although there is no clear one-size-fits-all approach to rostering in aged care – as every facility is different – the manual from NSW Health is an effective resource to help inform, guide and educate staff who have been tasked with the difficult task of scheduling staff.

According to the rostering manual, there are several factors to consider when developing rosters within the health and aged care industry. These include: 

  • Patient needs
  • Staff needs
  • Organisational needs
  • Workforce and skills required to deliver services
  • Conformity to relevant legislation
  • Workforce availability


By considering all of these factors when creating rosters, staff can ensure they provide the highest quality of care to patients, while also maintaining overall employee satisfaction – which is essential for preventing staff burnout and turnover. Staff satisfaction is something that was highlighted as an issue in HESTA ‘s recent Aged Care Workforce Report, which found that one in three of the aged care workers surveyed said that they did not feel valued by their employer. On the other hand, aged care respondents cited flexible work hours as one of the reasons they liked their employer, which just proves flexibility is something to consider when rostering staff in aged care.


Top 10 aged care rostering tips

Rostering aged care staff can make you feel a little like Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill…it feels like an eternal struggle.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of 10 quick tips for aged care rostering, so you can schedule your staff like a boss (literally and figuratively) in no time.

  1. Schedule the appropriate amount of staff hours per resident per day – the average care staff hours worked per resident per day is 3.23 hours.
  2. Enforce strict deadlines for leave requests and unavailability notices – sickness aside, enforce at least a four-week deadline for any leave requests.
  3. Know the roles you need, not the names – rather than looking at staff names first, think about the types of roles you need for each shift and plan accordingly. Then, when you start filling your roster, add in your permanent staff first, and then your casuals.
  4. Make sure everyone receives adequate time off – staff burnout and performance decline are inevitable when employees work for more than five consecutive days, so always keep an eye on individual staff days and hours.
  5. Allow your staff to check the roster online – preparing the roster online gives employees the opportunity to view their schedules at their leisure.
  6. Give your staff enough lead time – plan your roster as far in advance as possible to give employees time to plan their schedules, or swap schedules if needed.
  7. Share the best shifts – in aged care, certain shifts are better than others in terms of days and duties. These shifts require careful management to ensure fairness among staff members.
  8. Keep staff experience front of mind – in aged care it’s crucial to consider the experience and training of staff when rostering, as you want to ensure the highest quality of care for patients.
  9. Start with your budget – know what your staffing budget is daily and weekly, for all employees to give you a starting point. This helps you to maintain your organisation’s financial health, not just staff and patient health.
  10. Use a reliable roster software – using aged care roster software enables you to automate employee management and streamline staff rostering to save you time and energy.


Using aged care rostering software

Using aged care rostering software will transform the way you roster for the better. With Ento’s Workforce Management Software you can save time, money and improve productivity, as you’ll no longer have to spend endless hours with your head in a spreadsheet. Instead, you’ll enjoy an all-in-one workforce management system that allows you to create rosters, check and approve timesheets, see staff leave at a glance, automate onboarding and more.

For more information about how rostering and workforce management software can support the aged care workforce, download our free Aged Care Sector’s Guide to Digital Workforce Management today.


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