In Home Health Care, extraordinary individuals enter the homes of older adults and provide outstanding support for daily living skills, such as eating, bathing, grooming, and transporting. These individuals may have entered the field because they enjoy helping take care of elders or maybe just stumbled into it after caring for a love one. While they may enjoy making sure their older adult is comfortable and well cared for, it is not always the case that they are cared for and appreciated. To ensure your caregivers continue to deliver amazing service, it is important to make sure you’re taking care of your caregivers.
The first step of supporting your caregivers, is to make sure the company’s mission is made clear to them. There can be a disconnect between what the caregiver wants to see and what the company wants to see in the future. When the caregiver resonates with the company’s mission, then there is a synergy and a passion to drive forward on both ends. There is now meaning to the job and even more of a reason to go above and beyond while delivering care. It allows both the company and the caregiver to have an open relationship on what they see and how they both want the company to succeed.
It is likely that the caregivers and the company may see the same situation very differently. The caregiver spends the majority of the time in the older adults’ homes, while the company oversees them. With that being said, caregivers should be able to communicate with supervisors and with the company openly. Caregivers should feel like they are heard and that their concerns are being acknowledged. Without that open trust, a caregiver may be underappreciated or disregarded. If they cannot be heard, then they may rather leave instead of trying to find a solution to a problem they may be having. Some simple ways of achieving communication include:
Regular check-ins with the caregiver
Establishing a way to give feedback/suggestions
Explaining why you’re asking your caregiver to do something
Incentives: Why Work Harder If The Result Will Be The Same?
It is possible that a caregiver may really resonate with the company’s mission and feel like they have a voice in company but still feel dissatisfied. They may be putting all their effort in the job, only to feel like they aren’t being fully rewarded. That is where incentives come in. You can encourage work ethic by offering rewards or better compensation. With higher wage, better benefits, or longer vacation, caregivers may already feel like their needs are being met. However, you can go even further and offer bonuses, prizes, extra training, or even informal positions like an “Infection Control Specialist.” These are some simple ways to help with employee appreciation. A little can go a long way, while still being cost effective.
Recognition and Appreciation: Catch Them While They Do Their Best Work
One of the simplest ways to encourage work ethic, is praise. This praise should be specific and as immediate as possible. Caregivers are doing tough jobs, alone, and there often isn’t another person there to appreciate their work. Supervisors know the caregivers and the clients, making them the ideal people to recognize achievements and deliver praise. The appreciation would then be more direct and personable, compared company-wide praise. Different ways that praise can happen include:
Employee of the month/week
Awards for specific achievements
Direct communication with the caregiver acknowledging the perseverance
Events And Socials: See Who Else You Work With
Caregivers are often alone in older adults’ homes almost every day. There may be other staff, nurses, or supervisors on the case, but the majority of the time is spent alone. With the stress of the job and isolation, caregivers can burnout quickly. Having regular times to see the other people on the case or see the other caregivers allow them to foster a community. Caregivers may be able to express their own struggles and learn new ways to deal with similar problems, instead of doing so in isolation. These get togethers can also be a way to present awards and give recognition, further building a community. The get together should be some type of break from the actual work, so that caregivers have a sense of belonging that there are always people there, even if it doesn’t feel that way on the day-to-day.
To add even another level of support, the use of a mentorship is a good way to make sure the caregiver feels supported. A mentorship allows caregivers to have a system, where they can confide in another staff member, about their worries, struggles, or questions. Mentors serve as a way to provide support and another means to express suggestions, questions, and concerns to the company. They also serve as advocates for the mentee, fostering a positive relationship, encouragement, and a sense of being well supported.
Caregivers are already in stressful environments, even if they truly enjoy what they are doing. There are so many ways to reduce that stress so why not try all you can? In a field that has an extremely high turnover rate, it is important to focus on your caregivers and ensure their needs are met, just as well as their clients. You want your caregivers to provide amazing service, so it is crucial to make sure you take care of them too.