3 things you can do right now to increase caregiver retention in private duty
As we enter the second half of 2021, caregiver turnover in home health continues to be at an all-time high. From a growing demand for home care services to stressful work conditions during the pandemic, home health and private duty providers are struggling to increase caregiver retention.
Our previous blog discussed the importance of building relationships when it comes to trying to increase caregiver retention for the long term, but there’s more you can do right now to tackle one of the largest issues facing the home care industry. Here are three things you can start doing today to ensure your agency achieves recruitment and retention success.
1. Offer fair pay to your caregivers.
While budgets don’t often allow for caregiver pay that’s above the industry standard, the pandemic has forced agencies to invest more in their caregivers—who are turning to jobs where they encounter less stress for the same pay (and potentially benefits). Paying as fairly as you can—with even a small raise or bonus structure—shows caregivers that they are being recognized for their work and commitment to your agency.
More pay doesn’t always have to translate to higher hourly rates. Bus vouchers are a great way to incentivize caregiver retention, as it’s a bonus for those who don’t own a vehicle. Another approach is the spot bonus—a monetary award for caregivers who take an extra shift, care for a difficult patient, or travel outside their territory. Recognizing this extra work with a bonus makes it more likely for them to do it again. Sick pay and benefits like health savings accounts are other incentives for caregivers to stay loyal to your agency.
2. Schedule your caregivers consistently.
One of the most sought-after benefits for caregivers—even over pay—is a consistent schedule. This means consistent workdays, hours, shift length, travel time, and clients. Having a consistent schedule gives caregivers work-life balance. And even though they might not be getting paid as much as the agency down the street, it’s important to them to have a schedule they can plan their lives around.
The relationships between your schedulers and caregivers are crucial. Schedulers need to know caregivers on a personal level to ensure the schedule fits their life and work style. For instance, if a caregiver has no childcare on Tuesdays, the scheduler should know that he/she can’t work that day. They should also know which clients to match them with, and consistently schedule them with the same clients on a regular basis—leading to deeper connections, more empathy, and a better understanding for those they care for.
3. Keep communicating with your caregivers.
During COVID-19, caregivers experienced increased communication and recognition. But now that there’s less focus on the pandemic, these same caregivers are finding that the level of communication is decreasing, leaving them feeling less valued.
Throughout 2020, providers focused efforts on daily communication with their caregivers since they weren’t seeing them as often in the office. They often turned to technology to accomplish this, incorporating texting and video chats into their daily routine. This increased level of communication makes your caregivers feel important and increases their loyalty to your agency.
Caregivers also developed a renewed sense of pride in their work as they were regarded as “heroes” by social media. As media focus on the pandemic subsides, providers need to heighten their recognition of the work their caregivers do.
It’s more important than ever that agencies prioritize caregiver retention.
While pay, scheduling, and communication are seemingly obvious factors when it comes to recruiting caregivers, many agencies don’t prioritize them as ways to increase caregiver retention for the long-term. Taking a hard look at your approach to incentivizing and providing work-life balance can result in a happy, loyal staff that wants to work with you for years to come.