As thunder crashes and lighting strikes, a curly-haired brunette climbs behind the wheel of a beige SUV, the side of which reads “Bayada.”
“I’ll be there,” she says, right before hanging up her cell phone and driving off into the storm.
“Their tradition was forged on the battlefield,” a booming voice narrates. “Today, they serve in a field just as challenging: the homefront, where often getting the call means going beyond the call.”
While the commercial was made in 1998, its messaging — that nurses are modern-day heroes at home — rings truer than ever. That’s why Bayada Home Health Care has revived the 22-year-old advertisement as part of an effort to boost recruitment and retention amid the coronavirus.
“We are absolutely hiring more people now than ever,” Bayada CEO David Baiada told Home Health Care News, though he stopped short of sharing specific numbers. “The need for services — both because of societal and demographic evolution, but also because of what we anticipate as a rebound and an increase in the demand for home- and community-based care delivery as a result of the pandemic — is requiring us to continue to accelerate our recruitment efforts.”
Launched in 1975 by Baiada’s father, Mark, Bayada is a home health care provider with more than 30,000 employees providing services across 23 states, as well as Canada, Germany, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The Moorestown, New Jersey-based organization is one of the largest home health nonprofits in the country.
Currently, the company is serving about 25,000 clients per week, but amid the coronavirus, the provider is expecting that number to grow. Reasons include the push to keep vulnerable patients out of in-patient settings and the increase in COVID-19 positive patients being treated and recovering at home, among others.
Providing that care wouldn’t be possible without the caregivers Bayada employs, which is why it recently launched its “Heroes on the Homefront” campaign to coincide with National Nurses Week, which annually runs from May 6 through May 12. The commercial is just one part of it.
“We [first] introduced the Heroes in the Homefront campaign over 20 years ago,” Baiada said. “I think it really kind of struck me that the emotion and the sentiment of the campaign, inclusive of the TV commercial, were really timeless and particularly relevant now in the current environment.”
The campaign advertising is accompanied by a number of resources designed to help recruit and retain workers at NursesWeek.com. There, nurses can win a number of freebies, read stories about current Bayada nurses, take continuing education classes and learn how to join the Bayada team.
Recruitment and retention has been especially difficult for home-based care providers in the past, but the recent rise in unemployment is expected to help.
Recently, some agencies have had luck recruiting workers who have laid off or furloughed from service industry jobs or elective surgery centers. Meanwhile, others predict the COVID-19 virus will inspire more nurses to work in home-based care settings right out of school, rather than later in life.
On top of its hiring push, Bayada is fundraising on behalf of caregivers, bringing in money to help finance things like employee relief funding and personal protective equipment (PPE) costs.
So far, the company has brought in $100,000 in monetary donations for PPE, as well as donations of PPE itself. This comes after Bayada consumed a year’s worth of PPE in just one week.
Baiada says the company’s focus on employee safety, appreciation and satisfaction are nothing new, but that Bayada’s efforts are paying off in the face of the COVID-19 emergency.
“Retention dynamics are no different than they always have been,” he said, though not sharing specific numbers. “It’s part of why this campaign is so important: There’s such a great spotlight on the power of what we’re doing out in the community. I hope others will realize that it could be a calling for them.”
Bayada’s 1998 commercial makes the same appeal to potential caregivers in a slightly different way.
“Not everyone can follow in traditions footsteps, but those who do are heroes to those they care for,” the narrator booms. “Bayada nurses: Truly heros on the homefront.”