The Ultimate Guide to Caregiver Onboarding

Heather Pollock

Written on 28 September, 2023
A good caregiver onboarding experience will help your new recruits deliver a higher quality of care, learn operational procedures quicker, and feel a greater sense of belonging at your home care agency.

Keep reading as we break down everything you need to know to create an excellent caregiver onboarding experience, from what to include during orientation to streamlining onboarding with a caregiver app.


The Difference Between Orientation and Onboarding

Both orientation and onboarding have an important role to play in caregiver recruitment. If you want them to be useful experiences for your new recruits, however, you’ll need to understand what sets them apart.

Orientation is your new home care staff’s introduction to your agency. It happens on their first day or even earlier, before they begin providing care.

Onboarding is the longer-term process of supporting your team in delivering quality care, adapting to your processes, and taking on your business values.

For example, presenting a new recruit to their manager and providing them with their login details? That’s orientation. Scheduling a meeting on day 30 to provide feedback, answer any questions, and develop goals for the next month? That’s part of your caregiver onboarding.

Create a list of information and goals for your orientation and onboarding. Then, center your orientation and onboarding programs around these objectives.

How to Ensure Consistency in Caregiver Onboarding

When designing care aide onboarding, consistency is key. A consistent approach will ensure your team is all on the same page. And in turn, this will lead to greater consistency in processes, values, and caregiving methods. 

You can ensure consistency by:

  • Designing a standardized onboarding program

  • Providing a checklist of onboarding tasks and goals for both the manager and caregiver to sign on completion

  • Sharing documentation via your caregiver app

  • Using home care software to automate key steps in the onboarding process, such as scheduling check-ins

How to Use Technology for Effective Onboarding

Technology can help you onboard care aides more efficiently and effectively. Automating the process will improve consistency and ensure that key steps aren’t overlooked. 

You can also use your home care software to improve communication, for example, by bulk sending SMS reminders to sign documentation, set availability, and check the schedule. And with a home care mobile app, you can make the caregiving onboarding experience more intuitive.

Using a Mobile Caregiver App for Onboarding Staff: Essential Tips

  1. Provide Login Details Before the First Shift

Make sure your caregivers have downloaded your home care mobile app and logged in at least 24 hours before their first shift. Send over a video guide on how to use the app, and follow up with a message to see if they have any questions.

  1. Ask New Caregivers to Set Their Availability

Getting new recruits to set their availability via the app will save you admin time and help get their first shift scheduled as quickly as possible. Check out our guide to home care scheduling software for more insights on using technology for client-caregiver matching and scheduling.

  1. Give Staff Access to Everything They Need for Their First Shift 

Shift time, location, patient care notes: your new recruits should be able to access all this via the caregiving app. Double-check they also know how to clock in and out for their first shift, as well as how to add their own care notes.


How to Prevent 90-Day Turnover 

Your caregiver recruitment efforts might be focused on the first shift. However, 90-day turnover is a major issue for home care agencies — and it’s why a 90-day caregiver onboarding program is essential.

Tackle 90-day turnover by making sure your care aide onboarding includes:

First Shift Support

Upload everything your new caregiver needs to your home care mobile app, and check in with them before and after their first shift. This will help ensure a smooth start to their role.

Regular Check-Ins

Make sure your caregiver’s manager is available to answer questions and provide feedback. Schedule regular meetings and develop goals for the first shift, first week, first month, and first 90 days.

On-the-Job Training

Most home care aides will need to adapt to your agency’s workflow, values, and patients. Providing training will help your caregivers perform better and ensure that they feel supported.

Onboard New Caregivers in Minutes

With ShiftCare’s home care software, you can deliver a more effective and consistent onboarding program for less effort. Document uploads to help keep you compliant, and the mobile caregiver app means new staff can set their availability in minutes. And thanks to the intuitive schedule viewer, you can make sure that your team has all the information they need for their first shift to go smoothly.

Discover how the right tool can help your team deliver quality care from the very first day. Try ShiftCare for free.

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