Five Ways to Improve Caregiver Retention in the Home Care Industry
By Jeff Bevis
The senior care industry’s caregiver turnover rate stands at 60% to 80%, with the most recent industry benchmark report at a staggering 82% for 2019! With a rapidly aging population and a growing need for home care, this is extremely alarming. Low caregiver retention does not bode well for seniors who need consistency as they age in place. What’s more, the cost of losing a caregiver can significantly impact business. It takes time and money to find and train a new caregiver. Some effort and costs could potentially come from job postings, interviewing and screening time, onboarding and lost productivity until the new hire is up to speed.
Fortunately, there are several ways in which home care organizations can lower their caregiver turnover rates. What’s more, with the implementation of best practices, senior care companies can even ensure they recruit more caring and qualified caregivers.
Here are five ways in which in-home senior care companies can improve caregiver retention.
Set a strong brand culture that makes caregivers feel appreciated and included
What does your company believe? What are your core values? What kind of company culture do you want to create? A well-defined mission and culture of care environment will help ensure you attract the right caregivers who will genuinely care about their job and act as positive brand representatives. When relationships are at the core of everything you do and caregivers are put first, you will recruit and retain quality employees.
Offer full-time benefits to caregivers and boost training efforts
Caregivers are sometimes classified as contract workers. If you are able, hire caregivers as direct employees and offer health insurance coverage and other related benefits. This will not only attract caregivers, but also incentivize them to stay around longer. What’s more, your business will stand out as an industry trailblazer.
Once you’ve hired caregivers, provide them with advanced, comprehensive training. Set a requirement for the number of hours a caregiver must complete before they are placed with a client. Offer ongoing education, training, learning and career advancement opportunities. As basic as this might sound, such standards do not exist across the industry.
Carefully craft the matching process
Are you taking great care to match clients with the best caregivers? And are you making sure your caregivers are well-prepared before they enter a client’s home? Carefully craft your client-caregiver matching process and understand exactly what a client needs and what strengths a caregiver possesses. Above all: Make sure you do not place a caregiver into a client scenario they should not be in or cannot manage. If a caregiver has asthma, for example, they should not be assigned a client who smokes. By taking both client and caregiver qualities and needs into consideration early on, senior care companies will set everyone up for success.
Take advantage of tech solutions to make life easier for everyone. Use technology to help with everything from visit verifications to making electronic health records easier to access. Also, how do your caregivers communicate with their managers? Do they need to make a phone call, or is there an easier way to get in touch? Companies should absolutely keep the phone lines open in case caregivers have a question and need answers in a jiffy, but they should make sure other communication channels are open—and consistently monitored. Whether it’s through text message or a live chat system, caregivers should never experience any issues when reaching out for help or guidance.
Keep the business nimble and flexible by offering a variety of services
The healthcare industry is growing and evolving. From changes in Medicare to third-party paying environments, the industry is moving quickly. Consider expanding your services to include care for veterans, adults with disabilities and more. Also, make sure you offer disease-specific care, such as help for those who have Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. By offering different types of care and staying nimble, your company can adapt to industry changes and leverage opportunities.
About the Author: Jeff Bevis is the co-founder and CEO of FirstLight Home Care, a non-medical home care agency for seniors, the disabled population and anyone 18 years of age or older who needs assistance. Bevis has more than 37 years of franchising experience, having supported franchise efforts for six companies in five different industries. He has personally served as a caregiver for family members four times in his life and he is passionate about improving quality of life for clients.