Home care agencies can’t imagine a day when there are not enough caregivers to deliver care for the elderly. What would be the situation when agencies aren’t able to hire enough caregivers to meet the ever-increasing demands of elderly adults? One just cannot imagine a life without caregivers in their wildest dreams.
The aging population is entirely dependent on caregivers for even basic tasks including dressing, bathing, maintaining hygiene, and preparing meals. As per the government’s stats, the baby-boomers would soon be getting retired and would require care. This would surge the demands of personal care staff dramatically in the coming years.
Factors Contributing to the Shortage of Caregiving Professionals
The current wage system coupled with poor advancements is perhaps the reason why there’s a substantial decline in the availability of skilled professionals. It won’t be wrong to say that certain factors associated with care delivery and caregiver payout demotivate individuals to continue their career in the care industry.
In fact, the future would be even worse, say experts. There’s an immediate need to alter the working conditions through means that save the caregiver’s time and efforts. For instance, invoking the potential of technology in managing the caregiver’s schedule could be a fruitful idea. Most of the caregivers complain that their crucial time is squandered in maintaining records and updating care delivery sheets that require long hours for which they aren’t even paid compensation.
As per researches, one in two home care workers leaves their job within a year citing low payout as the main reason. Furthermore, the experienced professionals are leaving the profession and most of them are currently unemployed, says the industry experts.
Let’s understand the current scenario of professionals who are always on the verge to explore new job opportunities with better wages. The personal care industry is currently losing its dedicated workers to fast-food restaurants, retailers, and similar trades offering better payout.
The hourly rate of a caregiver working in any state of the United States is approximately $10 as per the official stats of the US Bureau of Labor Statics. This rate, when compared to the other professions working in the retail or food industry, is quite less.
The more payout in other jobs clearly depicts why someone would prefer getting stuck in long hours’ shifts and that too when they aren’t getting paid for all the stress and hassle during their working hours being a caregiver. Also, the odd jobs are even flexible and an individual gets enough time to unwind, which isn’t in the case of caregiving.
When we talk about the declining retention rates in the home care industry, we just can’t neglect poor communication between the caregiver and agency staff. The lack of certain touch points between a home care agency and a caregiver working in the field is the main contributor to low caregiver retention rates.
The ones joining the care industry expect flexibility, predictability, and certainly, a good payout. Scheduling flexibility is something that pokes caregivers to think for an alternative profession, especially the young ones.
Home care experts predict that there’s an immediate need to rework on the current care delivery processes and compensation for the caregivers based on their total billed hours. This would aid in increasing the retention and attracting capable individuals in this industry.
Lack of Training
Most caregivers agree that they aren’t trained for the jobs they are assigned. They don’t face hassle in dealing with routine tasks but an advanced stage of care significantly demands the right training from the home care agency’s end.
Take an example of a caregiver delivering care for the ones with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. It is quite a daunting task to manage the behavioral changes of the patient at times, which often leads to stress and is a contributor to burnout.
One simply cannot expect better care from the young caregivers that are totally unaware of the next challenge they are about to face while caring for the one with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Agencies offering regular training to the caregivers have comparatively less annual turnover as compared to the ones that offer little or no training at all.
Absence of Technology
While some home care agencies have already adopted smart devices and mobile apps to streamline business processes, there are many who are still relying on old-school processes. Maintaining heaps of data and paperwork is time-consuming for caregivers and agency staff. It consumes hours and the caregiver needs to put effort into maintaining precise records for each visit.
Apart from this, issues related to the timely delivery of care and client satisfaction play a crucial role in maintaining better relations with the caregiver. If a home care agency isn’t able to judge the care delivery adequately, they might not be able to establish a long-term relationship with the caregiver. This would again affect the overall retention rate of the agency besides the fact that the caregiver is working dedicatedly.
How Home Care Agencies can Improve Caregiver Retention Rates
Certain aspects contribute to caregiver retention in the home care industry. One can ensure better reliability on caregivers delivering personal care services by considering the following aspects that lead to better retention:
Revamp Your Recruitment Process
Every home care agency struggles to find reliable caregivers but you need to understand the fact that a great recruitment process could be all that you would need. Simplify the job application process for your agency so that caregivers need not put the effort into applying for a job, especially the ones with great experience and better job stability.
A personality screening is perhaps a good way of analyzing a caregiver’s skills and its ability to manage critical situations that eventually requires enough patience & experience. Pay closer attention to the applicants with good job stability in the past as it would give you a clear idea about the ones who can work for your company for a long time. Once your recruitment process is sorted, you can experience substantial growth in your annual revenues with enhanced caregiver retention rates.
Use a Home Care Management Software
The home care experts conclude that an automated system other than just electronic visit verification that could streamline processes for caregivers and save their crucial time is undeniably a fruitful way of retaining caregivers. This could help the caregivers in utilizing their time efficiently and even get paid for the extra hours spent in delivering care.
Using a home care software would help caregivers at the operational level challenges and could ease their daily processes. The individuals can update schedules, contact the client, detect the care delivery location, and get automatic billing capabilities.
Agencies can keep a track of caregivers visiting a client on the allotted time along with regular feedback and reviewing from the client’s end. This helps them to improve their services.
Apart from this, a software capable of tracking care delivery hours helps home care agencies in quick recognition of caregivers who are working dedicatedly and further can appreciate them in terms of monetary benefits. This surely contributes to improved retention rates as the caregivers are acknowledged for all the hard work they put into their job.
Acknowledge and Reward
Everyone seeks an appreciation for their work, and the same applies in the case of caregivers. Agencies that don’t recognize their top performers are always on an edge to lose their best caregivers, says home care experts.
Caregivers offering personal care services to the elderly are always seeking someone who acknowledges their hard work and gives them a pat on their back. A heartfelt note appreciating their work is all that would be enough from your end. One shouldn’t miss the important days of the year like the National Caregiver’s Day to appreciate caregivers. These special days add a pinch of ecstasy in the lives of the serene souls working tirelessly to make aging less difficult.
On the other hand, a caregiver reward program is undeniably a game-changer for the agencies dealing with low retention rates. An annual or maybe a quarterly caregiver rewards program could motivate caregivers to stay loyal with an agency and minimize the chances of switching their job.
Don’t Undervalue Caregiver Training
Most of the caregivers resign from an agency just because of the fact that they don’t get enough training from their agencies. Lack of training not only affects the quality of care for your clients but it also decreases your caregiver retention rates.
The ones that are new to caregiving often require new ideas and ways to deal with certain situations that may unexpectedly arise. Agencies need to look into the availability of adequate caregiver training on fixed intervals. On the other hand, it is a myth that experienced caregivers don’t require any professional training. Caregivers with years of experience need to enhance their skills for better care delivery.
For instance, the use of gadgets and smart apps for improving elder care is still challenging for caregivers working for decades. Proper training to use home care gadgets and mobile apps is crucial and agencies should emphasize more on the aspects that ensure their caregivers are trained to cover all verticals of quality care delivery.
Nurture a Positive Working Culture
Increasing the wages and expecting enhanced revenues isn’t the way out; you need to ensure that your caregivers aren’t facing any issues in offering services to the clients. Underlying factors including job satisfaction, toxic working culture, and inappropriate agency staff could equally contribute to minimum retention rates.
Working culture plays a crucial role in retaining caregivers who are expecting better management-employee interactions. The easiest and efficient way to determine the overall culture of your company is to get a survey of the same. Ask your caregivers how they feel working with you and is there anything they need to change or recommend the management to alter.
Moreover, you have to be sure enough to maintain a positive environment for both caregivers and agency staff members. Start activities emphasizing team-building that can help caregivers in socializing and connect them with the management & other workers in a better way.
Offer Higher Education Opportunities
It has been seen that employers who support their employees’ higher education and career goals have better retention. As an agency owner, you need to promote continuing education for your caregivers if they are willing to.
Providing flexible care delivery hours depending on the extra class’s schedules could be the perfect option to ensure your caregivers stay loyal with your agency and deliver their best. Some of the agencies prefer partnering with local colleges/universities to offer higher education and certifications to the caregivers and other staff members.
Bridge the Gap
The key to caregiver retention is to ensure your caregivers interact with the management to discuss their issues and provide feedback. Most of the agencies neglect the importance of feedback and efficient communication between the caregivers and agency staff, which hurdles healthy communication.
You need to implement plans that can increase interactions among caregivers and other employees of the agency, which ensures everyone is socialized and can discuss their issues for a better solution. Agencies must work on organizing monthly activities and seek maximum participation from all the employees that would reduce caregiver stress as well as motivate them to cope with the daily challenges.
Home care agencies are already facing issues related to caregiver retention and adequate measures are immediately required to deal with this situation before it gets worse. Agencies can leverage a home care management software that is capable of streamlining business processes and eases the daily tasks of a caregiver.
The advanced home care management software comes with a built-in GPS system along with electronic visit verification. It lends a hand in billing the total hours of care while saving ample time that otherwise gets consumed in manual billing & record maintenance.
Apart from this, the caregiver-centric approach must be implemented to ensure caregivers enjoy working in a flexible schedule, which further contributes to improved retention.
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