As COVID-19 pushes through the United States, home health and assisted living providers are facing new operational challenges. For our clients, caregiver staffing is at the forefront of these demands as more patient care shifts to one-on-one assistance.
While Sprockets continues to help home health providers replicate their top-performing caregivers and navigate their immediate hiring needs, we want to share the insights and industry outlooks uncovered along the way. This article is a collection of those insights and outlooks as they relate to caregiver staffing.
Caregivers consider unemployment
Over the past few weeks, the federal government went to great lengths to provide relief for both individuals and business owners negatively affected by COVID-19. An unfortunate side effect of this relief effort is individuals considering unemployment as a more lucrative option than remaining employed.
This is due to the extra $600 in relief given to individuals who file unemployment as a result of losing their job due to COVID-19. In the hourly workforce, this could mean making more while being unemployed than to remain in a current position.
Not many of our clients have mentioned this issue, but those that have are reacting in a couple of ways:
- Hazard Pay – Increasing caregiver hourly rates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Staffing Up – With increased unemployment nationwide, providers are seeing an influx in candidates. By ramping up interviewing, they are prepared to replace caregivers that are unable to work for any reason.
Providing care is a hands-on task, but in a world where minimal contact is required, providers are having to quickly adopt a digital-first mentality. Sprockets’ clients are reporting their digital transformations in a few key areas:
- Recruitment & Onboarding – Hiring managers are shifting to online screening and interviews with caregivers. This means using tools like Sprockets to quickly match applicants against current top-performing caregivers, conducting video conference interviews with Google Hangouts or Zoom Meetings, and handling onboarding through training videos and web-enabled documents.
- Caregiving – Operations managers have implemented digital check-ins via surveys or video conferences to ensure a caregiver working remotely is fit to visit with a patient. In other words, they are asking a series of questions to determine if the caregiver may be at an increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and potentially not able to provide care.
- Compensation – COVID-19 has placed additional strain on individuals’ ability to meet their financial obligations. As a way to meet the immediate needs of their caregivers, some providers are embracing software that allows employees to be paid in an on-demand fashion. Tools like DailyPay and FlexWage allow employers to provide a flexible digital alternative to their typical pay frequency.
Recruiting from other industries
As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 has created an unfortunate opportunity to meet the staffing demands that previously and currently face home health. With other industries dependent on hourly employees like restaurants and hospitality forced to layoff employees, home health providers are finding a new applicant pool for sourcing.
While recruiting in other industries is a great way to counteract the previously tight labor market for caregivers, we are advising Sprockets users that screening is more important than ever. Understanding an applicant’s mental makeup before they shift into a caregiver position helps providers know they have the “right skill set” for the job.
As we continue to get insights from other home health providers using Sprockets, we will post another staffing roundup in the weeks to come. If you have any current strategies you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.