According to the 2017 Home Care Benchmarking Study, 77% of healthcare agencies stated that the caregiver shortage is one of the top three threats to their workplace. This caregiver crisis is becoming an epidemic… quickly spreading nationwide and with no end in sight. What’s the solution?
In a recent poll conducted by Just for CNAs, nurse aides were asked what organizations could offer to ensure their loyalty. Ninety-eight percent of respondents included higher wages in their response. Unfortunately, today’s healthcare agencies are often unable to afford salary bumps. Many even struggle to pay their current payroll every month while still providing quality care. So, if higher wages are off the table, what else can be done to help improve caregiver retention rates? Keep reading for eighteen tips that can help show your caregivers how valuable they are.
1. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS: From day one on the job, ensure your caregivers understand their role within your organization.
2. OFFER BENEFITS IF POSSIBLE: Studies show that caregivers are more likely to remain in their position if they’re also offered a benefits package.
3. CREATE A CAREGIVER MENTORSHIP PROGRAM: By implementing a peer-led orientation program, you’ll create a positive team-centered culture from day one.
4. FOSTER TRUST WITH A SUGGESTION BOX: Ensure your caregivers know their voices matter.
5. LISTEN: Encourage caregivers to be open with each other and with you.
6. OFFER ONGOING TRAINING: By investing in a quality continuing education program, you’ll remind your caregivers how important their role is on the healthcare team.
7. PROVIDE AN ON-SITE DAY CARE for caregivers’ children.
8. ENCOURAGE POSITIVE AIDE & NURSE RELATIONSHIPS by creating a “buddy” system every shift.
9. THROW A CAREGIVER POT-LUCK PARTY once a quarter to promote positive relationships among co-workers.
10. HONOR AN EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH every month. Put a photo of the caregiver on a bulletin board at your workplace along with a place for co-workers to add a note of ‘thanks’ and/or stories of a job well done.
11. FOLLOW UP WITH CAREGIVERS AFTER ORIENTATION to make sure they’re comfortable with their new position. This will give them a chance to ask any questions and show them that you’re invested in them.
12. CREATE A QUALITY ENHANCEMENT TEAM as a way to work together to “problem solve” issues at work before they become a problem.
13. HOLD “THEME” DAYS such as “Wacky Hair Day” or “Wacky Tacky Day.” This can help infuse a little fun into the workplace for both employees and clients.
14. THINK ABOUT INVESTING IN TOOLS SUCH AS A DEDICATED HOME CARE SOFTWARE to help ease caregiver workload. There are lots of programs out now that can help streamline the documentation process, keep caregivers on task, etc.
15. HOLD A GROUP MEETING once a month to offer caregivers a chance to voice their opinions about work. Come prepared with a few team-building activities! This might also be a good time to hold an inservice.
16. CONSIDER CREATING ‘ADVANCED CAREGIVER ROLES’ for employees who have completed ongoing training in a specific field (such as Alzheimer’s Specialist or Specialist in Hospice Care).
17. PROVIDE FREQUENT VERBAL AND/OR WRITTEN RECOGNITION to remind your caregivers of their value and worth.
18. ENCOURAGE COMMUNICATION! Often times caregivers become burnt out and quit their jobs without speaking to their supervisor and/or asking for help first. If you’ve created an open and honest work environment, your employees will be more likely to come to you with their feelings…before deciding to leave.
The caregiver crisis is real and it’s happening now. BE the solution by showing your caregivers how vital they are to the healthcare world. Don’t wait. Start today.