After being identified as the No. 1 complaint from care staff in 2021, home-based care providers are taking a closer look at training within their organizations.
As home-based care providers face severe staffing shortages, effective training programs that keep staff engaged remain crucial.
A new survey from HCP gathered data on training from 335 agencies, including private-duty home care, home health, hospice and palliative care providers. The results are meant to paint an overview of common training practices, as well as how effective those practices are.
“It’s our responsibility to evaluate what other agencies are doing, how employees are responding and what steps can be taken to provide a better work environment and care experience, but we can’t do that without the data,” Kristen Duell, chief marketing officer at HCP, said in a press statement.
One of the survey’s key findings was providers inability to engage staff in training. In fact, 35.5% of respondents named this as its top training weakness.
“Lack of engagement in training is a growing concern for the industry,” Duell told Home Health Care News in an email. “Care professionals are being pulled in every direction, and most of the time, they are not supported in their professional growth. Most engagement issues result from poor learning environments that don’t allow care professionals to take on new challenges and grow both inside and outside the workplace.”
Lack of – or insufficient – programs to orient new employees, lack of communication, lack of options for virtual training and the inability to match education needs to job roles or licensures rounded out the rest of the top five training weaknesses.
When looking at the types of training utilized by home-based care organizations, 77% of respondents are using blended learning, while 11% are using in-person training and 12% are using online training.
The survey also found that the majority of organizations are utilizing a learning management system, meaning software used for training that typically includes documentation, reporting, tracking and more.
Specifically, 62.2% of respondents use a learning management system, while 37.8% do not.
In terms of median hours of training completed, based on sector, home health care clocked in at 13 hours, hospice at 12 hours and private-duty home care at 12 hours.
Organizations’ top training categories were compliance training, client and employee safety, required continuing education, infection control and on-the-job training.
Additionally, most of the home-based care organizations surveyed have increased their training efforts by 25% over the last 12 months.
As far as the results of increased staff development and training, better staff performance topped the list. More engaged care teams, increased job satisfaction, increased client satisfaction, increased skill development or job advancement of staff members and improved survey, audit, or accreditation outcomes were also results.
“There are a lot of providers out there that are helping their employees upskill by either taking courses in specialty areas, becoming mentors to other care professionals, or even just taking courses that are appealing to them,” Duell said. “As a result, these providers are seeing more employees complete their training, an improvement in net promoter scores and satisfaction ratings, and of course, a stronger pipeline of long-term employees.”
The survey also highlighted some of the obstacles that stood in the way of staff completing their training.
The top barrier was employee turnover before completion of training. Among the others: Lack of efficient training that doesn’t create excess hours of learning; lack of adaptable training that can be updated to maintain learner interest; lack of effective orientation training for staff new to the industry; and, finally, lack of focused training for special circumstances.