Recruiting and retaining caregivers is often identified as the top challenge facing the home-based care industry. In fact, it’s part of what’s driving several hospitals and health systems to outsource their home health care services.
Meanwhile, three U.S. health systems have found another solution: They will participate in a $20 million pilot program designed to help them hire, train and retain thousands of home health aides and nursing assistants over the next three years.
Cleveland Clinic, Catholic Health and Ascension Michigan will pilot the program, which is called Transformational Healthcare Readiness Through Innovative Vocational Education (THRIVE).
Cleveland Clinic, which conceived the idea for THRIVE, is made up of 11 hospitals in northeast Ohio and more than 180 northern Ohio outpatient locations, as well as additional facilities in other states and countries.
Meanwhile, Buffalo, New York-based Catholic Health operates four hospitals, four long-term care facilities, three home care agencies and various other facilities in western New York State. Ascension Michigan runs 15 hospitals and hundreds of related healthcare facilities in the state.
Detroit-based Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation (RCWJRF) will fund nearly $15 million total in grants to help make the program possible, according to a press release announcing the news.
The foundation, named after the original founder and owner of the Buffalo Bills NFL team, has traditionally focused its investment efforts, in part, on caregivers.
“Being a caregiver can be both rewarding and challenging, and it is imperative that we support individuals who decide to answer the call and care for those in their communities,” Amber Slichta, vice president of programs for RCWJRF, told Home Health Care News in an email. “Despite paid caregivers being projected as one of the fastest growing occupations in the healthcare sector by 2026, recruitment and retention still remains an issue.”
The goal is to improve retention rates to save enough money to continue funding the program without philanthropy.
“With success in this first phase, which is focused on increasing retention through training, job coaches and ad hoc support such as transportation, RCWJRF hopes to continue to work these health systems (and others) to improve retention rates further through career advancement opportunities and improved recruitment strategies for caregivers,” Slichta said.
About $1.5 million of RCWJF’s investment will go toward evaluation to assist with demonstrating a financial ROI and other outcomes, she noted.
“We hope the grant will pave the way for a replicable model that can be utilized by others to better support, recognize and value caregivers and [that it] provides a positive return on investment to healthcare providers, caregivers and patients,” Slichta said.