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Home Care Recruitment: The Never Ending Process

With more and more private duty home care agencies starting up, new and existing agencies are decrying the lack of qualified home care aides in the field to support their client caseloads. Turnover is generally high (40% – 50% or more) thus making continual recruiting a must if your home care agency is to grow. In addition to the lack of qualified aides, the aging of American is growing rapidly. By 2030, the number of Americans age 85 or older—the group most likely to need the assistance of direct-care staff—is expected to double, reaching 8.9 million. Over the same period, the number of women in their 20s through 50s—the group most likely to make up the ranks of direct care workers—is expected to rise less than 10%. (Linda Hiddemen Barondess)

Current research has identified several reasons for the excessively high turnover rate among home care aides:

  • Low wages – According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, almost a fifth of direct-care workers—far more than the national average of 12 to 13 percent—earn incomes below the poverty level. Furthermore, there is great discrepancy between wages for workers in institutions versus those who work in personal homes. A hospital aide’s compensation is ‘about $18,000 per year. In a nursing home, they may get $15,000; and in a residential care home, it can be as low as $12,000 annually
  • Limited opportunities for advancement
  • Lack of appropriate training
  • Lack of benefits – One-third of home care aides (32.1 percent) have no health insurance, compared to one-sixth (16 percent) of all U.S. workers.
  • Poor public image
  • Lack of respect
  • Exclusion from patient-care planning 

Source: VHA Inc. “The Business Case for Work Force Stability”

With the above statistics is it any wonder that the home care industry is having problems recruiting and retaining good home care aides? Astute owners of home care agencies have already realized the causes of their turnover rates and have taken steps to mitigate the problems. You will find them in almost any market place and they are readily identifiable.

First, they tend to pay the best and include health insurance. As a result of these additional benefits provided, they may charge more for their services. Secondly, they have advancement opportunities with programs like “Senior Aides” Scholarship Support programs for advanced education ,”Aide of the Month” programs, and Career Ladders, just to name a few. Third, the home care agency has an aggressive and expanded continuing education program with certifications for completion of each series of trainings. Fourth, the agency conducts inclusive staff meetings where home care aides are recognized for achievement, tenure, customer service excellence, birthdays and other special events. Finally, the agency seeks information from the aides through regularly conducted surveys. They query their work and client needs. Additionally, they seek the home care aides involvement in making changes that benefit the organization, the clients, and the home care aides.

To develop strategies to lower your turnover rate, begin with your home care caregiving staff. Survey them as to why they stay with you. What is it about your agency that draws and keeps them with you? Interview those who leave your home care agency. Why are they leaving and what would it take to keep them? Unless you can address the expressed needs and wants of your home care aides, you will continue to have the revolving door of recruitment, hire, orient, train and redo the process. Once you have the information, you can develop solutions to your turnover rate. You will probably find that there is no one solution to the problem and may in fact require several “fixes”.

If you think it is less expensive just to keep recruiting, do a cost analysis of what you are paying for each home care caregiver that you hire. Multiply it by the number of aides you hire each year to replace those you have lost. This is the true cost of turnover and something you have control over.

High turnover among direct-care staff, which is costly, threatens quality of care, increases workloads, lowers morale among internal office staff, and damages the financial health of the home care agency.

If you need assistance in developing strategies and process to help reduce your home care aide turnover, contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting. We are here to help

Category: Education & Training, Organizational Restructuring & Transition, Staffing

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