As a home care business owner, there are significant obstacles we’ve noticed that directly affect your ability to meet the needs of your caregivers and your clients. The following three create somewhat of a trifecta, which can hinder your success if you don’t develop a strategy to overcome them: Caregiver Turnover, Increased Demand for Home Care Services, and Client Turnover.
Continually on the rise, we have show year over year how caregiver turnover is a top concern for many providers. Some of the factors leading to high turnover include low wages, lack of training, no potential for upward movement/promotion, demands on time, and issues with caregiver/client compatibility. Home care services can easily be undervalued by both the clients paying for the services and the employers setting the wages for caregivers. We strongly encourage owners to set up programs recognizing caregivers who are excelling, create opportunities for mentoring, and provide both required and elective training.
While considering how your wages compare within the home care industry is important, be aware you may be also competing for employees against other industries that are comparable in pay, such as retail and restaurant jobs. Most who changed occupations, as discovered in a 2015 study on long-term care performed by the University of California, simply have left the workforce altogether or show as unemployed after leaving their job as a caregiver. In many areas of the country, unemployment is extremely low, making hiring good talent in most industries more challenging.
Increased Demand for Home Care Services
The growing demand for home care services is great news for the industry, but the added growth also exaggerated the issue of caregiver turnover. Between Baby Boomers entering their senior years, medicine prolonging lives of the generation before, and others with disabilities requiring temporary or permanent in-home care, the demand for home care will continue rising. The impact is two-fold; increased demand for home care increases competition as new agencies seek to hire caregivers and existing ones hire to compensate for a growing client base. While this is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to contribute to improving the lives of millions of seniors and disabled, they will need to build strategies to set themselves apart in order to be found among the myriad other providers joining or already in the industry.
Even with a growing demand, the average length of service for home care clients ranged from 8 months to 14 months for those surveyed in 2016. Those in the 95th percentile of the industry, meaning the top performers, had an average length of service of 32 months. Factors that affect client turnover vary, including a client passing away, recovery from injury/surgery, and loss to competition. The first two can be anticipated and somewhat planned for. The loss of a client to competition, however, is generally preventable when applying best practices. Using satisfaction management to help identify potential concerns, taking the feedback and implementing changes are going to help you extend the length of services provided to clients. Caregiver turnover and client turnover can be interrelated. Reducing both provides opportunities for caregivers and clients to build positive relationships.
Repeatedly, we have seen home care providers who build a business around caregiver and client satisfaction stand out and succeed. Their successes have helped make a difference in the quality of care provided to seniors and are directing positive change in caregiver employment. The caregiver turnover challenges we face as an industry today are not likely to disappear anytime soon, and there is no one easy solution. Addressing caregiver turnover takes thoughtful planning to tackle one small challenge after another in order to constantly improve and reduce caregiver turnover over time.