How to Increase Retention of Home Health Caregivers

Asha Neil

Written on 29 May, 2023
An effective caregiver retention strategy will help your home health agency reduce costs, improve client-caregiver relationships, and deliver a higher quality of care.

Why Caregiver Retention Is a Problem

Caregiver turnover can represent a major issue for home health agency owners. Constantly recruiting and training new staff is costly and time-consuming. When your more experienced caregivers leave, it can also lead to lost operational knowledge and, in turn, increase operational costs.

Plus, frequent changes in personnel can be confusing for patients and lead to poorer quality care.

Unfortunately, US labor statistics show that employee turnover is likely to remain high in the near future. Workforce participation is still below pandemic levels, with 3.8 million people quitting their job in March 2023.

Retaining caregivers is harder than ever, but demand for home health care is growing. America's population is aging, and more and more people suffer from chronic diseases or illnesses. Low employee retention rates make it harder for home health agencies to meet this increased demand. Home care agencies will struggle to achieve continued growth without an effective employee retention strategy.

Key Factors Causing High Caregiver Turnover

One of the main drivers of high caregiver turnover is the issue of pay and benefits, such as health insurance. Low pay, coupled with high out-of-pocket costs such as gas, can push caregivers to switch careers.

Financial instability, due to changing schedules and inconsistent work hours, is another key factor behind the high turnover rate. Many caregivers face uncertainty in their monthly earnings, adding to their financial strain.

Schedule inflexibility can also make it difficult for caregivers to balance their personal and professional lives. In particular, childcare can be a huge financial burden for caregivers, made worse by changing schedules that they have no control over.

Poor career advancement can further contribute to high turnover rates. A lack of clear pathways for progression may cause caregivers to view the role as a temporary job rather than a long-term career. This is particularly likely to happen when there is a lack of proper training opportunities.

Caregiver burnout also adds to turnover rates. Caregiving can be physically and emotionally demanding, plus caregivers often take on a significant amount of administrative tasks.

Lack of support from managers can exacerbate caregiver burnout. Without adequate managerial support and resources to cope with stress, caregivers are increasingly likely to leave their jobs.

How to Increase Caregiver Retention

These six steps will help home care agencies address caregiver turnover rates.

#1 Create an Employee Retention Strategy

An employee retention strategy can support growing agencies in improving caregiver retention. Your strategy should be financially sustainable, realistic, and actionable. For example, your agency may be able to provide ongoing training, but only for specific skill sets.

As part of your strategy, create a timeline for implementing all tasks and assign them to specific team members. This will help ensure that your strategy gets put into place.

Make sure to periodically review your strategy and tweak it as required.

#2 Offer Competitive Pay and Benefits

A competitive compensation package will help ensure that your home care agency is an attractive place of employment. It can enable you to better retain caregivers and compete with other agencies to attract prospective caregivers.

The pay rates you can offer will depend on your budget. However, from a business perspective, retaining the right caregiver is often less expensive than recruiting and training new caregivers.

#3 Provide Flexible Scheduling

Home care agencies that give their caregivers greater control over their work-life balance will find that they can boost job satisfaction and increase caregiver retention. Allow caregivers to set their preferred availability and bid on additional caregiver assignments. You’ll be able to reduce your administrative burden while empowering your caregivers to work as much as they want, when they want.

#4 Build a Training Program

Comprehensive training for new caregivers and current caregivers alike should form an integral part of your retention strategy. When caregivers have access to regular training and professional development opportunities, they can see caregiving as a viable long-term career. Seek feedback from your team about the training opportunities they would most appreciate.

#5 Address Caregiver Burnout

Ensure your caregivers have the tools and resources they need to perform their caregiver duties effectively. Streamline administrative tasks so they can spend less time filling out paperwork and more time providing care. This will reduce caregivers' stress levels and increase job satisfaction rates.

Better scheduling will also help you tackle caregiver burnout. Make sure you understand how many clients each caregiver can see in a shift without being overwhelmed, and schedule accordingly. You should also revise schedules to reduce travel time (and your travel expenses!).

Providing paid time off will further support your caregivers and give them the time they need to decompress after work.

#6 Create a Strong Relationship with Managers

Effective communication between caregivers and managers, particularly following negative interactions with patients, can help your team resolve ongoing conflicts and improve caregivers' job satisfaction rates. Regular feedback sessions, open lines of communication, and a commitment to resolving issues respectfully and promptly can make your home health agency an attractive workplace.

Improve Caregiver Satisfaction with the Right Tools

ShiftCare's home care software supports agencies and caregivers alike. Its scheduling, invoicing, compliance, and patient management features will help you reduce how long you spend on admin work. Our users find they save hours of time each week.

Your caregivers, meanwhile, can use the ShiftCare app to set their availability, bid on additional shifts, view their schedules, view patient care plans, and more. 

Discover how the right software can help you improve the caregiver experience. Try ShiftCare for free.

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