Top Ways to Reduce Home Health Aide Turnover

With employee turnover deemed time and again a major and growing threat to home health and hospice providers, it’s imperative that agencies learn to combat the issue before it impacts them. Doing so successfully may come down to providing sufficient work to caregivers who want it and preventing on-the-job injuries, according to a new study published in The Gerontologist.

For the study, researchers from the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research in Washington, D.C., analyzed data from the National Home and Hospice Care Survey in 2007, which included over 1,000 Medicaid- or Medicare-certified home health and hospice agencies and more than 3,300 aides working for those agencies. LeadingAge represents approximately 6,000 not-for-profit senior services and care providers.

Survey participants answered questions via phone about job satisfaction, compensation, their intent to leave their job, and the job’s stressors and demands, among other topics.

Approximately 25% of participants reported they were very likely to leave their job in the next year or were currently searching for a different job. More than 80% of all respondents revealed they were assigned to the same patients every week, and 13% said they had experienced an injury on the job within the past year, Reuters reported.

Having employer-provided health insurance and a consistent patient assignment were both associated with a worker’s intent to stay at his or her job, as was feeling valued by their organization, the research revealed. Being paid hourly, meanwhile, had no effect on participants’ intent to leave their jobs.

At the same time, workers employed by agencies that encouraged them to discuss client care with patients’ families had increased chances of being extremely satisfied, study co-author Natasha S. Bryant of the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research told Reuters.

The practice of aide-empowerment should also extend to providing aides with ongoing support and education, as well as advancement opportunities to help them grow professionally and earn higher wages, Bryant said.

“Agencies can educate and train home health aides prior to employment and on-the-job on safe workplace practices, including patient lifts, how to handle difficult patients or family members, infection control and prevention and management of violent attacks,” Bryant said.

Additionally, participants working at for-profit chain agencies were more than twice as likely to intend to leave the job as those working for non-profit agencies, the research revealed.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson