In 2016 alone, an estimated 3-million baby-boomer adults will retire to their homes. While this seems like good news that may benefit the home health care field, it may not. What many people don’t know is that caregivers are leaving their posts due to underpayment and extreme levels of stress to deliver quality care with less than fair wages and compensation.
The caregiver problem is a big one. More than half of most homecare practices state that caregivers walking away from their jobs may stunt the growth of their businesses. Because of the fact that so many people are leaving the field, many of the seniors relying on their care will have to deal with multiple caregivers during their lifetime or may be pressured to moving into a nursing home.
What’s Triggering This Mass Exodus?
The short answer is money. Most caregivers make between $10-12 an hour before taxes which can easily work out to $7-9 dollars an hour to bring home to their families. In their daily work they are expected to care for our loved ones—this means cooking, cleaning, bathing and changing them consistently. Many caretakers are relied on for entertainment purposes as well and yet we send them home with pennies to take care of their own family.
Caregivers are often spending more money than they are compensated. Many home care businesses do not compensate caregivers with gas money and they are often not paid for the time it takes to arrive at the patient’s home. This paired with the stress and physical requirements of caregiving often drive even the most selfless and compassionate caregivers away from the field.
Those who make the decision to stay are often not involved in the field for long periods of time. This is because they are often made to take up the load of the caregivers who left their positions for even less money. Many traditional jobs will pay you time and half, home care positions often only offer a bonus in hopes of keeping workers for less than their time is valued at. Again, this is another reason why many people don’t last long in the caregiving field.
Although the payment situation is changing—a Washington D.C. court recently ruled in favor of overtime and better wages for home care employees, businesses are still taking a financial hit. Having to pay overtime means forking over thousands of extra dollars for employees each and every year.
How to Retain Workers
The key to retaining home care workers is paying good rates, giving benefits and offering overtime if necessary. You want to ensure that you are paying your employees good money, otherwise they’ll end up leaving—this is the entire reason the homecare field is in this rut in the first place. If you want to keep your caregivers you have to be willing to pay them their dues.
Start by compensating workers for their commute to their patient’s home. Offer a few extra dollars an hour and even implement overtime. When the stress levels are through the roof, your workers have multiple patients and aren’t being paid fair wages they have no choice but move to higher ground.