- 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!
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!