Hospice and home health care provider Interim Healthcare is pursuing a multifaceted initiative to combat the effects of industry-wide staffing shortages. Combined, these efforts have enabled the company’s franchisees to increase the number of candidates they attract by five fold.
Currently the United States has 13.35 hospice and palliative care specialists for every 100,000 adults 65 and older. An April 2018 study estimated that by 2040 the patient population will need 10,640 to 24,000 specialists; supply is expected to range between 8,100 and 19,000.
Hospice and palliative care providers are already seeing shortages in other disciplines, including chaplains, nurses, and social workers. As far back as 2008, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) began allowing hospice providers to use contracted nursing staff because not enough nurses were available to fill permanent positions.
Interim recently received the Optimas “Silver” Award for recruiting. The awards recognize human resources successes in solving business challenges.
“The supply and demand topic is a real issue across not just our industry, but the majority of sectors. We’re not immune to that either; recruiting remains a top challenge for our franchise owners across the country. As an industry, we need to care for the caregiver just as much as we care for our patients,” Jennifer Sheets, president and Chief Executive Officer of Caring Brands International and Interim HealthCare Inc. “Caregivers value flexibility, job security and the opportunity to leverage technologies to better improve their patient (and their own) experience. It’s our jobs as leaders to provide the job experience that our invaluable caregivers want and need. They’re the heartbeat of health care companies.”
Approximately 10,000 people in the United States turn 65 each day, according to the Pew Research Center. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 36% growth in the number of home health aides and personal care aides between 2018 and 2028, research indicates that home-based care providers have an 82% turnover rate, Hospice News sister site Home Health Care News reported.
Interim’s recruitment and retention initiative includes achievement dashboards to onboard employees and track workforce utilization, as well as bi-annual contests among the company’s franchise owners designed to increase the rate of hiring and workforce utilization. An opportunity achievement dashboard measures how many additional employees are needed to meet rising patient demand.
The initiatives also include professional development courses and certifications for caregivers, which improve employee satisfaction and improve retention, according to Sheets.
Interim’s franchisees participate in company-wide employee retention programs, such as its Pin Program, a tiered learning program designed to help staff progress in their careers. The company takes a “red carpet”approach to staff onboarding to welcome new hires, and offers incentive programs that reward employees with gift cards, days off and internal recognition.
“We’re in the center of a ‘perfect storm’ in health care staffing services – the aging population is growing, life expectancy is increasing and hospitals seek to discharge patient sooner by sending them home with multiple chronic conditions often requiring a caregiver to ensure post-care adherence,” Sheets told Hospice News. “The caregiver shortage is well-known, and we’re all committed to tackling it. It’s the right moment to invest time and resources in attracting the right candidates, but it’s important to dedicate the proper resources to retain them. The reality is: whoever owns the candidate owns the industry.”