Caregiver Centric Culture: A Sustainable Model for Exceeding Staffing, Quality & Revenue Requirements

Jerry Bridge Uncategorized 2 Comments

While quantity and quality of senior living options and related technologies continue to evolve, the senior care industry faces at least three major challenges;

  • The median caregiver turnover rate across the industry was 66.7% in 2017, the highest rate since 2013.
  • About 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 each day. The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to climb by over 25 million over the next ten years!
  • The ultimate purpose of elder care, and of healthcare in general, is to alleviate suffering, increase well-being and enhance quality of life. And yet, far too many clinicians, caregivers, administrators and medical staff suffer from stress, overwhelm, fatigue and burnout; resulting in high turnover, sick days, disengagement, and sub-par care. 

With these issues in mind, while preparing for a recent Keynote address (MatrixCare Annual Users Conference 2019), I interviewed senior leaders and management from several Home Care and Assisted Living organizations. My research helped me to understand some of the critical principles and practices necessary for building a sustainable culture in which the entire workforce is able to thrive, generating sufficient revenue and optimizing quality of care. Here I highlight one of the best!

From its inception in 1968, Family & Nursing Care in Silver Spring Maryland has been assisting clients in need of home care services -from private homes, retirement communities, independent and assisted living facilities, to nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals.  With approximately $40 million in annual revenue, the company is recognized as one of the top two best private duty home care agencies nationwide by DecisionHealth™ They were chosen from approximately 25,000 private duty home care companies in the United States based on client and employee satisfaction, revenue and referral growth, and innovative programs and processes. Family & Nursing Care has also received the Workplace Excellence Award from the Alliance for Workplace Excellence (AWE). 2018

Family & Nursing Care has less than a 14% caregiver turnover rate (compared to 66% industry average in 2017). They spend little or no money on recruitment or advertising and hire less than 7% caregiver applicants!

Caregiver Centric Culture

So how do they achieve such a low turnover rate while remaining competitive? According to Neal Kursban, CEO, they employ a caregiver centric model: a culture which their main focus is on making sure caregivers are appropriately compensated, fully recognized, empowered, connected and acknowledged.

“Culture is everything! Given the costs of hiring, onboarding, training, understand company – why not invest the money into keeping your people?” Neal Kursban, CEO

Family & Nursing Care has a full time Caregiver Advocate. Hannah P. is a former scheduler and care coordinator, she told me her primary role is to listen and respond to her caregivers needs. During my interview Hannah candidly and passionately shared that “what I love most is helping her caregivers solve problems with clients, perhaps giving them a different perspective or understanding while gaining insight.” She added, “I think it would be great if more companies had a role like mine, it would really help, having someone to call, just listen to them when they need it most!”

Hannah and her team schedule monthly meet and greets, an educational opportunity and social event combined with food and drink provided by the company. Such an occasion provides an chance for independent caregivers to get together, learn best practices, share ideas, and solve problems.

There’s also a goodwill committee that provides for caregivers in need. For example, replacement of goods resulting from fire damage, loss of a loved one or loss of a long standing client for which the caregiver needs additional time off or emotional support.

These are just a few of the many principles and practices Family & Nursing Care employ. Although they pay higher wages than most, the CEO is adamant that the savings on hiring, advertising and recruitment far outweighs the costs. Indeed, they have a workable model for thriving in the senior care market, now and for the future!   

Bottom Line

Start by building a sustainable culture based on principles that put people before profit. Leaders and managers need tools and training – human solutions – that extend beyond technology for managing everything without being overwhelmed by it. More on that in my next blog post!

Comments 2

  1. Hi Jerry, I just finished reading your book. I’m planning on adding it to our web site’s Recommended Reading section and writing a short review on our blog.

    I was just blown away by your ability to care for multiple family members in tough situations. Most people aren’t able to handle even one!

    I really appreciated your ability to acknowledge the down times you were having and yet keep a positive attitude about your experiences. It’s really inspiring and a great example for family caregivers (which is why I’m adding the book to the Recommended Reading section).

    As far as this blog entry, you’re right on the money as far as a “People first” approach.

    It’s just not done enough in our industry. Too many get into the home care/home health business with their eyes on profit and caregivers/patients get put in a distant second. And then they wonder why they can’t retain good caregivers and constantly deal with poor outcomes with families.

    1. Post

      Kyle, thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback regarding the blog and my book. I really appreciate that you took the time to reach out and share your thoughts….I do miss my family and I try and honor each of them by having a full life and contributing to others with what I’ve learned and experienced. feel free to reach out anytime, I would be honored to speak with you and learn more about what’s happening at Aware Senior Care!

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