Continuity and Contingency Plans over the Festivities.

December throws a few different curve balls to overcome when ensuring care services are fully staffed. There is the obvious, Christmas and New Year festivities, however, there are also a few others that need to be taken into consideration.

Continuity of Care

Having continuity of care and support has a considerable impact on a person’s wellbeing and quality of life. It is important that we can all work in partnership to help people achieve the outcomes that have identified as important to a person in their care and support plan. Having the right people in place and having the right number of staff on shift ensures their continuity is not affected by the festivities.

Here are 6 tips to ensure your staffing contingency plan is Christmas Proof!


  1. Make best friends with the weatherman!

Have you considered the weather forecast? Winter weather can have massive implications on staff absence and punctuality. Always stay one step ahead, most people respond to the weather that morning which is often too late to ensure it doesn’t affect their commute to work. Give your team regular updates and especially the day before if you know the ice and snow overnight could cause them disruption the next day

  1. Prevent getting a “Snowed in” team.

Having provided domiciliary care in a very hilly town for 10 years, we know very well the implications care workers get snowed in can have.  It is imperative precautions and solutions are thought of well in advance, for instance,

  • Is there anyone with a 4×4 or good snow car that can car share on these occasions?
  • Advise people to leave their cars out on a main road if there is a risk their car will get stuck on their drive.
  • Reconsider usual route to work favouring major roads that are more likely to be cleared and gritted.
  • Allow extra time to de-ice, clear snow and drive safely.
  • Share helpful resources such as AA Winter Driving Advice
  1. Winter Bugs

December brings a whole array of bugs, coughs and colds. Staff sickness can hit at anytime and its unpredictable how many staff members will be affected at one time. Short notice staff cover can be hard when the existing team are already working long hours.

Having the right recruitment agency waiting in the wings is a great contingency plan for times like this. AJ Support Workers are often called upon to cover shot notice staff sickness to help ensure service users days and planned activities are not disrupted.

4. Are their changes to local transportation over the festive period?

Reflect on how your team commute to work, if there are a number of people who use public transport, it is wise to invest time in looking at the service they use and what changes to this there will be over the Christmas and New year period. Also, asking and involving your staff in this can ensure they are aware that you are informed and no what to expect.

  1. Consider shift pattern changes

It may seem unrealistic and unachievable but at times when your service could be affected by something out of your control, it’s time to think outside the box.

Could your shift patterns work better with public transport times, that way you are giving your staff the chance to be punctual and on time over Christmas and still fulfil their duties despite their commute to work being disrupted due to public holidays or the weather. People may be willing to stay a little longer until the person catching the bus arrives as a favour over this time.

6. Choosing the right staffing agency – Compliance 

This can be daunting; you need an agency you can trust in your time of need and for the people within the agency to have your service users’ best interests at heart. Compliance should be high on their list of priorities to ensure when you have a CQC inspection you are confident all the necessary checks have been completed on agency workers who attend your service.AJ customers are welcomed to our offices to regularly review AJ Support Worker HR files to see for themselves the extensive security checks and social care training completed.

If you would like a chat about how AJ can help your service maintain continuity and safe staffing levels over the Christmas and New Year period, please give us a call on 03305 552233 or email