Taking care of the caregivers who will one day care for us

Taking care of the caregivers who will one day care for us

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When home-based care professionals consider ways technology can simplify patient care, we can often forget there’s a human aspect.

Clinicians go into this important line of work because they love caring for patients — and many will soon be taking care of the next generation — but the challenges they face in today’s post-pandemic world are leading many to find new careers.

  • 29% of nurses say their desire to leave the field is significantly higher than before the pandemic.
  • Certified nurse aides wage disparities have many leaving their profession for higher paying service industry positions.
  • 32% of RNs surveyed in November 2021 said they may leave their direct patient care roles—an increase of over 10% in less than 10 months.
  • 18% of healthcare staff have quit since the pandemic began and 31% have considered leaving their employer.

What steps can organizations take to help ensure staff feel supported, giving them purpose in their roles and work-life balance?

Set expectations — for your organization and your employees.

Set the right expectations of the level of productivity expected from clinicians and the level of assistance that employees will get when performing their jobs — and make sure those things align with employee expectations. But keep in mind to not be rigid in your approach by trying to fit square pegs into round holes. Be flexible and willing to embrace employees who have different goals, as long as they can effectively and efficiently take care of patients.

Senior woman with caregiver in the garden

Provide employees with the right tools to do their jobs effectively.

The amount of communication that takes place between staff, patients, families, and other care team members is immense. Factor in documentation requirements for capturing that communication and the result is overworked staff burdened with administrative tasks. Provide tools that allow staff to focus more on patient care while also allowing them to easily meet everyday requirements.

Technology should never complicate roles. Instead, it should live in the background as a support function providing ease of communication, guiding employees to do their jobs in accordance with agency processes, enabling use of voice rather than typing notes, and so much more. A great example is when a digital solution eliminates the need for clinicians to give out their personal mobile phone number. It happens all the time, but it’s unsecure and it burdens staff with after-hours calls and poor work-life balance.

When digital tools minimize intrusion on patient care — while simplifying tasks for the care team — it can contribute significantly to staff satisfaction and retention.

Participate in the regulatory and legislation process.

While many providers assume other people will lobby against industry challenges facing qualified caregivers — including competitive pay and reimbursement for organizations who could then pay more — the truth is playing a passive role will not result in positive change. Organizations that are active in creating a better industry for the care team staff they employ should be open about their efforts. Staff would be interested to know if their employer is working to give clinicians more opportunity to make more and be supported in the important work they do.

Educate your leadership on what’s happening in the industry, attend conferences to get involved and learn more, and send those letters to the senator. Every action makes a difference and it’s important to make sure your employees know you’re doing it on their behalf.

Make it easy for patients and families to show their appreciation.

Clinicians go into this line of work because they love caring for patients. They make themselves available between visits to provide comfort, answer questions and alleviate concerns — that kind of personal touch goes a long way for patients and family caregivers during a stressful time. It should be easy for patients and families to comment on and appreciate the care your staff provides. Whether it’s an embedded feedback link or a custom form, getting feedback in a way that’s shareable with staff will be very rewarding for care teams. If clinicians see they’re truly making a difference, they’re motivated to keep doing what they’re doing.

Simply put, clinical staff are facing immense challenges. We need to start prioritizing their satisfaction so they can do the important work they love — caring for patients. After all, these caregivers will one day be caring for us.

Schedule a demo today to learn how CitusHealth can help make caregivers’ roles more efficient and enjoyable.

Rob Stoltz
Rob Stoltz

Rob Stoltz is a long-time veteran in the home-based healthcare IT industry, with deep experience in EMRs, care transitions, patient engagement, predictive analytics, and interoperability. As Senior Director of Business Development at MatrixCare, Rob has been focused on technology partnerships leveraging interoperability to benefit all stakeholders involved with patient care while enhancing provider efficiency through effective workflows.