As we work with home care agencies all around the country, we hear this lament all too often.
With the increased aging of the population, this cry is getting louder. While different areas of
the country have shortages of nurses and therapists, the largest challenge is hiring home care
aides. Let’s look at different classifications and how you get started to recruit and retain these valuable assets.
What’s In A Name?
This class of caregiver is called different names depending on the state. They are called CNAs
(Certified Nursing Assistants; required for Medicare and organizations receiving federal or state
funds), Registered Nurse Assistants, aides, or unregistered caregivers. Since every state has their own set of rules, the caregiver designation will vary except for CNA which is a federal designation. There is evidence that there is a growing need for home care aides, but the biggest challenge is getting the right fit. The CNA schools are turning out multiple graduation classes a year, but many do not read or speak English sufficiently enough to work in an unsupervised situation. It may be a lack of the basic skills to care for the very frail elderly or disabled. Some do not always have sufficient knowledge to recognize when the client has issues that need to be brought to the attention of the home care agency management staff/ professional nurse.
Where Do We Go First?
So where do we start? First, you need to assess the clients your home care agency serves and identify the skills and personal attributes the home care aides will need to properly care for them. This includes not only skills and knowledge, but personality traits as well. Once you have identified what is needed, develop a profile of the ideal aide.
Use the home care aide profile to screen all home care aide applicants. To establish the presence of the desired traits, require all applicants to take a knowledge test of caregiving (a 50 question test is available through Kenyon Home Care Consulting) and a hands on skills test (recommended to be administered on-site or through a local nursing home). Once it is determined the applicant has the basic knowledge and skills, require that the applicant take an online personality
test to determine the presence of desired personality qualities (One such test is offered online through Steven Tweed Leading Home care called the Caregiver Quality Assurance test).
If you approach hiring using the above process, the home care aides you hire will be superior and provide your clients with the quality of care you need to not only protect the clients but your reputation, which helps your business grow. You will also find that 60% to 80% of home care aides that apply will not meet your requirements. If you have had a very lenient process for hiring this may come as a shock to you. At this point, expect some pushback from your schedulers when there are not enough aides to meet your demand. In the short term that will be true. However, we have found
that over time, the stringent process produces a workforce of quality, dedicated, and loyal employees that help with your scheduling headaches.
Kenyon Homecare Consulting Can Help:
Building a workforce of knowledgeable, skilled, dedicated, loyal, and dependable home care aides is the way to the future for home care agencies. Failure to screen and hire for excellence in the home care leads to customer complaints and in some cases litigation. In cases where we provided expert witness services, the root cause for the agency being sued was agency’s failure to hire individuals with the knowledge and understanding needed to adequately care for such a frail population. Additionally, the language barrier present in many cases added complexity to the situation. It led to bad
outcomes for the agency, the client, and most of all, the home care aide. We realize that in some situations this will prove to be a difficult process to follow because to the demand for services exceeding availability of home care aides. When this is the situation, we moved to plan B, developing our own training school to meet our customer needs.
If you need help with recruitment and retention, Kenyon HomeCare Consulting is available to help. Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to speak with a senior consultant.