Does your agency make caregiver satisfaction a priority? As the caregiver shortage crisis worsens, it’s increasingly important to evaluate yourself as an employer and understand how you can improve the experience you provide to your caregivers.
Each month, Home Care Pulse associates interview thousands of home care clients and caregivers over the phone to gather feedback that their home care agencies can use to improve as employers and providers. This feedback gathered in these interviews can be enlightening, troubling, surprising, and even amusing.
We love getting comments like one we received recently from a home care client who jokingly announced that he “would fight” his home care agency if they tried to change caregivers on him because his current caregiver was so helpful to him. However, not all the feedback is positive. Many comments from caregivers demonstrate a stronger need for agencies to focus on caregiver satisfaction in addition to client satisfaction if the agencies want to retain their caregivers.
We’ve compiled and categorized the top ten complaints we heard most frequently during the first half of this year. What are you doing in your agency to respond to these complaints?
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10. Too much commute/travel time.
Caregivers complain about having to drive too far each day, especially if the distance they’re required to travel each day is different than the expectations that were set when they took the job.
9. Lack of openness to ideas and feedback.
Many caregivers say that their agencies are unresponsive or get defensive when they suggest ways to improve client care or make things easier for caregivers. One caregiver said that, “Any time someone has a complaint, they get written up and put on probation. I find it’s best to not say anything.”
8. Rude office staff.
Some caregivers feel that office staff are impatient or short with them when they have questions or need help.
7. Lack of client compatibility.
While many agencies work hard to match the right caregivers with the right clients, it’s apparent that this is still an important issue in the industry. “They don’t care who they put me with,” said one frustrated caregiver recently. “They just want a warm body to fill the slot.”
6. Not getting proper information about a client before starting with them.
Whether it’s a care plan that hasn’t been updated or a client with difficulties above and beyond what was mentioned, a high number of caregivers complain that they aren’t getting enough background on what to expect before walking in to take care of a client. This can embarrass them, weaken their confidence, and start things off on the wrong foot with their clients.
5. Lack of recognition.
Recognition was the industry’s lowest satisfaction score from caregivers in 2017, according to the 2018 Home Care Benchmarking Study, and it’s clear that this is still an issue. Caregivers want to feel appreciated for their efforts in ways other than pay, and many say that a simple thank you occasionally would go a long way.
50+ ideas for recognizing your caregivers and increasing caregiver retention.
4. Little or no training.
Caregivers who aren’t trained thoroughly tend to be less confident and less equipped to provide high-quality care to clients, and unfortunately this is a prevalent issue for home care agencies. “I have clients with specific needs and they don’t train me on how to help them,” said one caregiver. “One time they told me just to look up videos on YouTube.”
3. Low pay/lack of benefits.
This one’s probably no surprise: most caregivers want to be paid more. Additionally, many caregivers are upset when they learn how much agencies are charging compared to how much they’re being paid.
“One time they told me just to look up [training] videos on YouTube.” – Anonymous caregiver
Most caregivers want flexible schedules that work with other commitments, and caregivers generally want more hours than they’re getting. Additionally, some caregivers feel that they were misled as to the kind of schedule they’d be getting when they were hired.
1. Poor communication/coordination.
This was by far the most frequent complaint we received. A very large number of caregivers complain of communication issues, including:
- Not being able to get a hold of the office when they need something
- Not getting any response when they leave a voicemail or send a text
- Not being notified when schedules change
While most agencies work hard to take care of their caregivers, there’s still a great deal of room for improvement. While it may be tempting to write these complaints off as things that aren’t issues for your agency, it will be better for your business to take a detailed and honest assessment to determine whether any of these are actually problems within your agency.
What Complaints Do Your Caregivers Have?
Many caregivers are afraid to speak up to their employers for fear of repercussions. That’s where we come in. We give your caregivers a voice by surveying them as a third party and keeping their feedback anonymous.
In our Satisfaction Management Program, we call your caregivers (and clients) as a third party to get unbiased, direct feedback on how you can improve. Then we provide this feedback to you in custom caregiver satisfaction reports with a breakdown of exactly where you can improve.
To learn more about how you can help you identify your caregivers top complaints (and how you can solve them), schedule a demo with one of our specialists today.
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