The best caregivers are people who develop an understanding of what quality care looks like for their clients through experience and training. That is why it’s never been more critical for homecare agencies to invest in exceptional training of caregivers.
Considering that an estimated 80% of caregiver turnover happens within the first three months of employment, homecare agencies have limited time to fully prepare their employees for success. Caregiver turnover in 2021 was 64% According to Home Care Magazine, the caregiver turnover rate for 2021 was 64%.
Here are some crucial caregiver training tips to help you in this task.
1. Offer Basic Programs
It’s essential to offer basic caregiving programs to help your employees, particularly in the beginning of their training. Some of those basic programs may include topics such as client safety and client rights, employee safety, infection control, COVID-19, nutrition and meal planning, and activities related to daily care tasks.
These basics will provide your employees with a solid foundation from which they will be able to build toward their future success.
2. Set Yourself Apart From the Competition
It is estimated that by 2030, there will be a shortage of more than 150,000 caregivers for the elderly population in the United States. Consequently, the competition between homecare agencies for these employees is likely to increase in the coming years, and it will become necessary to set yourself apart from the competition.
An excellent way to do that is to offer flexible programs that caregivers can take at their own pace and convenience. Cornerstone’s caregiver training is 100% online, making it more accessible and less intimidating to everyone, especially those new to the caregiving profession.
3. Cover a Wide Range of Topics
In addition to the basic caregiving programs mentioned above, training programs should also cover a wide range of additional topics that could prove to be helpful in building a caregiver’s expertise beyond the basics.
This includes training on how to care for clients suffering from mental illnesses, how to care for stroke patients or other clients after they are discharged from the hospital, how to identify and prevent pressure ulcers for clients who are bedridden, etc.
Additionally, every caregiver should be familiar with the basics of common medications, their interactions, contraindications, and side effects.
4. Provide Basic Household Training
Clients in their own homes usually require caregivers to do light housekeeping, but client expectations vary widely.
Therefore, training caregivers in basic household maintenance will help establish expectations and boundaries from the start so that they can be clear on what chores they are required or not required to do. That may include training in duties like doing laundry, dusting and vacuuming, scrubbing the bathroom tiles, etc.
5. Include Training About Safe Transportation
A part of caregivers’ duties may include driving their clients to appointments, so transportation protocols are fundamental to make sure this is done safely and comfortably for each client.
These topics might include maintenance of vehicle cleanliness, respect of clients’ preferences on vehicle temperature and music, availability of space to store walkers and wheelchairs, safe transfer in and out of the vehicle, etc.
6. Train Caregivers to Fit the Client’s Needs
Each caregiver should be trained to fit a particular client's specific needs and requirements, so it is essential to adapt the training content to every individual.
If a client is bedridden, a caregiver should be trained to deal with bedsores. If a client has heart problems, a caregiver should attend heart attack training and know what to look for. Among the most popular specialty training programs are:
Palliative care training
7. Help Caregivers Adjust to Client’s Other Needs
Clients may need support and assistance with tasks that involve more than just physical or mental health. It’s important to allow flexibility and creativity in this aspect of the job.
You can simulate on-job scenarios or discuss expert advice on life skills like cooking, fitness, budgeting, or even using modern technology.
It may not seem like it relates to the caregiving job description exactly, but when caregivers are in the client’s homes and lives long enough, they may open up and share other aspects of their life that might need support.
8. Assist Caregivers in Improving Their Soft Skills
One of the most challenging things for caregivers is dealing with difficult personalities and maintaining a positive attitude. Special training in “soft skills” can be beneficial for this part of the job.
Soft skills include:
interpersonal (people) skills
time management, etc.
Soft skills are important for every job and make employees more successful in the workplace.
9. Appeal to Different Learning Styles
Every employee has a preference in how they receive and retain information. For some, the best way to learn is through graphs, charts, and diagrams. For others, it is through the information that is spoken or read aloud.
Then there are those who get the most out of in-person, hands-on training and those who prefer worksheets, reading assignments, and taking extensive notes. Appealing to these learning styles will ensure that every employee feels supported and comfortable during training.
10. Motivate Your Caregivers
A 2019 Workplace Learning Report by LinkedIn states that 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. Therefore, it is vital for home care agencies to motivate their employees. That can mean:
creating an atmosphere where questions and discussions are encouraged
cultivating a positive and encouraging environment
offering perks and benefits
incentivizing employees with rewards for completed training courses.
11. Evaluate the Success of Your Training Programs
Make sure that your training programs measure up to your expectations of quality caregiving and that your employees are able to make the most out of them. Training programs need to offer basic and specialized training courses so that employees with different levels of experience can benefit.
Assess your employees’ individual interests so that you can provide them with specific knowledge that will improve their expertise and help them reach their full potential.
Fitting your caregiver’s needs is the best way to ensure your training completion rate is 100% and reduce your turnover rates. When your staff is engaged and active in their work with support and encouragement from management, they will naturally want to continue working and growing their career with your company.
Following these eleven crucial tips will help your homecare agency attract candidates, particularly those interested in being long-term caregivers, by assisting them to advance their skills, improve job satisfaction, and prevent a high percentage of turnover.
Investing in your employees is imperative in this highly competitive field. This investment will undoubtedly pay off in the long run for your business and the quality of life for the clients they serve.