Home Business Insights & Advice 49% of care workers are at their limit, but can care companies pull them back?

49% of care workers are at their limit, but can care companies pull them back?

by Sarah Dunsby
3rd Jul 24 3:06 pm

A recent UNISON survey found that 49% of care workers are on the brink of leaving their jobs. This comes as a significant blow at a time when healthcare shortages make talent retention vital. For care companies, such deep-seated levels of dissatisfaction highlight the need for significant and lasting operational changes. But, what do those changes look like in an age where expectations are increasing and spending margins continue to shrink?

In reality, the future of healthcare, and care roles in particular, hinges on swift, systemic changes that stand to benefit carers and their patients in turn. In this article, we’ll consider how care companies can pull their current workers back from the brink, while also finding ways to thrive as they move into an uncertain future.

What did UNISON’s survey discover?

As mentioned, UNISON’s survey found that around 49% of carers are considering a career change. But that’s not the only worrying statistic care companies should consider from this survey. Other worrying findings including the fact that:

  • 48% of care workers felt they didn’t have adequate time to support patients with dignity
  • 40% of care staff report having to leave patients in distress
  • 41% of care workers don’t have time to talk to patients
  • 24% believe they lack the development required to deliver adequate care

These figures not only suggest that workers are unhappy in care roles, but that they feel increasingly unable to perform their jobs to an adequate standard. This increases the risks of mistakes which could result in reputational damage, or even patient fatalities in some cases.

Care companies need to act quickly to address these worrying realities. But what exactly can they do to overcome what looks to be an industry-wide problem?

Looking for a solution: Pinpointing improvements for care workers

Care companies who are looking to retain the patients and carers on their books need to put fast changes in place. Luckily, improvements are possible with the right approach and a consideration of options which include:

Avalon.red / Avalon

1. Flexible staffing

As many as 19% of care workers report an inability to find time for even simple care tasks like taking patients to the toilet. Meanwhile, 41% of care workers don’t have time to talk to their patients, even though only 31% of those individuals regularly receive friend and family visits. Equally, 48% of carers don’t feel they have the time to adequately treat patients with the dignity they deserve. These are serious issues. Worse, if carers miss symptoms or health problems as a result of these rushed workloads, patient fatalities could follow.

Obviously, care shortages are a large reason for the ever-growing workloads of care professionals right now. As such, increased employment drives, which could include initiatives in schools and higher-education facilities, are an obvious starting point for improvement. However, many experts also believe that outdated staffing models could be to blame. By supplementing full-time care roles using flexible bank staff and travelling care workers, it could be far easier to enable longer times with each patient. This more flexible approach could also allow for carers to stay present during sudden setbacks like patient distress, illness, or injury.

2. Adequate training

24% of carers believe they do not have enough specialist development to perform their roles. More than one in ten carers also report completing care jobs they aren’t trained for, such as delivering injections.

Considering that carers are entrusted with the lives of elderly patients, this lack of experience or knowledge is a significant problem. The untrained supervision of medications and injections is particularly worrying and is an issue care companies can overcome by always making training a priority. These training focuses should include first aid and injection administration. Proper documentation of these qualifications can also ensure that only experienced, knowledgeable carers are paired with patients who require these services.

As well as boosting credibility amongst patients, this increased focus can help carers to feel both supported and certain in their day-to-day roles.

3. Industry-specific software

Countless carers report a lack of support as one of the most pressing problems with their jobs. This is an issue which can be difficult to overcome due to the on-the-go nature of care work. Carers particularly report a lack of information regarding each client and a lack of real-time communication across their teams at large.

This is an issue that managers can address, and they simply need to implement industry-specific care management software to do so. Software like CareLineLive is uniquely poised to address issues such as a lack of patient information using features that include real-time patient updates, and even communications with patient families.

Care-specific software also provides the in-office benefit of making it easier to match carers and patients, and also manage workloads from a distance. This can ensure streamlined services, which will be a better fit for both carers and their patients.

IMAGO/Zoonar.com/Yuri Arcurs peopleimages.com / Avalon

4. Pay reflecting capabilities

73% of care workers stated low pay as one of the main reasons for wanting to leave the industry. 94% of carers also called for recognition as trained professionals via a register similar to that used for doctors. That, in turn, should highlight the worth of the skills used by carers every day.

Care budgets aren’t always able to reflect major pay requirements, but companies could do more to compensate their most experienced team members. Something as simple as pay rises based on things like care-specific qualifications or training courses completed can provide both reward and incentive. Equally, opportunities for progression, such as promotional prospects as a team leader or head carer, could also help to satisfy carers who, right now, can feel like they’re stuck on low pay for good.

Conclusion

Care workers are essential key workers in a modern age, and they’re only set to become more vital for an increasingly ageing population. But 49% of care workers aren’t happy. Managers could benefit from taking note of the improvements suggested in this article before they lose their workforce for good.

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