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Episode 49

Understanding caregiver personas: A look at the top 7

Jeff Howell: 0:01
Welcome to Home Health 360, a podcast presented by Alaya Care. I’m your host, Jeff Howell, and this is the show about learning from the best in home health care from around the globe. Hey folks, and welcome to another edition of Home Health 360, where we speak with leaders in home care and home health from across the globe. Mission Care Collective owns three brands, including MyCNAJobs. com. It’s basically the LinkedIn for caregivers. They have a database of about 80% of the caregivers across the entire health care continuum. They have two other brands one is called CoachUpCare and Mission Care Collective. The three brands help companies right through from getting new people to join the industry in the first place through to training, recognizing and stabilizing the workforce and retaining caregivers for the whole health care spectrum. Think of them as a complete workforce solutions funnel for the caregiving industry. Today I’m excited to have their CEO, B randi Kurtyka. Brandi, thank you for being here today.

Brandi Kurtyka: 1:06
Hi, Jeff, thanks for having me.

Jeff Howell: 1:08
And I’ll give you a shout out to your website so people can follow along if they’re on desktop. It’s missioncare. com, paired with Brandi. We also have our very first ever two-time guest on the show former director of private duty for island home care, former director of private duty for the Home Care Association of Florida and current executive director of private duty for the National Home Care Association of Home Care and Hospice, otherwise known as NAHC, Kristen Wheeler. I appreciate you being here today.

Kristen Wheeler: 1:38
Thanks so much, Jeff.

Jeff Howell: 1:39
It’s nice to be back, and if you’re not familiar with NAHC, I will give you their website as well, so you can open it up in another tab. It’s N-A-H-C dot org. So today, what we’re really going to focus on is that Mission Care Collective and NAHC commissioned a joint study to characterize the seven types of caregivers. Now, there was more to it that was in that study, but that was the main thing that I took away from this is that how can you take a look at these specific personas or caregivers, how to recruit them, how to engage them and how to retain them. So let’s turn it over to you, Brandi Tell us a little bit more about Mission Care Collective.

Brandi Kurtyka: 2:18
Absolutely. You did a great job, Jeff. High level. We’re in the business of bringing people together to change the culture of care, and the word collective isn’t just about a collection of brands, but rather the right collective minds and partners, if you will coming together, all rowing in the right direction, to make care better tomorrow than it is today. Many of you are probably familiar with my CNA jobs. I’m one of the co-founders of that company launching about a decade ago, and we helped millions of caregivers connect to jobs and we helped thousands of companies hire direct care workers. Each year, reality is that we see more people leaving the profession than joining the profession, and we know that home care agencies nursing homes are often turning away care because they don’t have the workforce to support it. So we became Mission Care Collective a couple of years ago. We’re a mission-driven organization and it’s our commitment to drive change, with the gift that we’ve been given of operating the largest caregiver network to help stabilize the workforce. And, as part of becoming the collective, we’ve continued to innovate. We have a retention platform and an employee engagement platform called CoachUpCare that now helps providers engage their team to ultimately reduce the number of people that are going out the back door and to reduce turnover. So Mission Care Collective has a suite of recruitment and retention tools for the care industry and we’re also a partner in driving much needed and scalable change.

Jeff Howell: 3:44
So you got the front door covered, you got the back door covered and, if I’m not mistaken, isn’t it something like 3.9 million jobs you guys filled last year? Am I right on that?

Brandi Kurtyka: 3:54
Yes, so we helped connect over 3 million people a year across 8,000 companies nationwide. That’s right, that’s all. Kristen over to you, but it’s not enough More work to do, that’s true.

Jeff Howell: 4:06
Yeah, there’s certainly going to be more demand for that moving forward. Kristen, give us a breakdown of NAHC for the folks that may not be familiar.

Kristen Wheeler: 4:12
The National Association for Home Care and Hospice very big mouthful there also known as NAHC or NAHCH, depending on what part of the world you hail from. We’re the oldest and largest not-for-profit professional trade association. We represent providers from every asset of both the pre and post-acute care industry. So that means from the private duty home care or private home care, which includes private pay, long-term services and supports, and Medicaid, home and community-based care providers, to home health agencies and onto hospice. NAHC is probably most well known for its advocacy efforts. We advocate on behalf of there’s something like 33,000 organizations around the country, but in addition to our advocacy efforts, we provide information, education, resources, assistance to help our members stay compliant and really maintain the very highest quality of care.

Jeff Howell: 5:09
Great, Brandi, tell me about this joint workforce study, starting with where folks can find it, and then just bring us through how it came to be.

Brandi Kurtyka: 5:19
Yeah, absolutely so. It’s available for free online and we can add a link when this podcast here is released. Mission Care Collective and NAHC have partnered for a long time and we’re always looking at ways to bring new thinking and new ideas to providers to better understand the workforce. We know that the more we understand about the people ultimately delivering the care, the more we can elevate the industry to accelerate change. This study was born out of a conversation about something new and different that we could do that would provide powerful data. So that’s why we partnered with NAHC and what we did essentially is we looked at caregiver CNAs, home health aides those individuals that essentially are working in a home care and a care setting today and we analyzed them with the World’s Artist Data Company to run an analysis to say, hey, who are these individuals, what do they like, what don’t they like, what are their general areas of interest. So we could understand better, if you will, the thumbprint in the current face of a direct care worker.

Jeff Howell: 6:30
Give us an idea, like how big of a sample size are we talking about?

Brandi Kurtyka: 6:33
Good question If it was 67,000 direct care workers and I’ll share, jeff, when Hurtle when we were analyzing this workforce is they’re kind of an invisible population, if you will, because they don’t all actually have credit cards, which, when you work with a lot of big data companies, that’s where they get a lot of their data from. So we had sent over hundreds of thousands of records, if you will, of people that were looking for work within a few month period of time and the data company was able to match and get a sample size of 67,000 of them, and that represents every state across the US.

Jeff Howell: 7:12
I was blown away when I saw the page talking about how 90% of caregivers actually don’t have a credit card. I was just blown away by that.

Brandi Kurtyka: 7:21
Yeah, it’s kind of wild actually. I mean, it makes sense if you think about it and you understand the proof of who a caregiver is. But yeah, it was an interesting aha.

Jeff Howell: 7:30
And so, out of the 67,000, were those ones that you could find a credit card for.

Brandi Kurtyka: 7:34
No, not necessarily. Actually. The data company just kind of pivoted in terms of, like, how we were going to approach the research. They look at online behavior, social behavior, rental records, a whole slew of things but it changed the approach of what and how we needed to analyze the data. It was interesting. The data company came back and goes most of these people are female. Is that accurate? Yep, that’s accurate. They’re caregivers. Most of these individuals don’t have credit cards and when we start to unpack a little bit like who a caregiver is, it made sense. But definitely a spot in the research where us and NAHC had to pivot a little bit.

Jeff Howell: 8:09
So that was unexpected. What else did you find that was unexpected in the report?

Brandi Kurtyka: 8:13
I think that was the biggest thing, that was the most unexpected in terms of the actual research itself. I’m not sure any of the data necessarily surprised me in the report, but the opportunity to help providers think differently as they build their team and think about how to treat their team and what’s important in building a workplace that’s ultimately going to lead to better care in the study has really led to a lot of positive conversations by the industry. So I think what’s neat is light bulbs going off for folks and inspiration to want to better support the work for so not necessarily something that surprised me, but an opportunity and it’s been neat to see light bulbs going off by providers and say, hey, what can we do with this insight and what can we do with this thinking to rethink internally what it means to recruit and retain these folks?

Jeff Howell: 9:08
Yeah, I mean, like obviously we all know that the biggest challenge is recruiting and retaining caregivers. We also know that adequate pay is such a major contributor to that. But when you can tell a story that 90% of a particular cohort doesn’t even have an active credit card, that really like just paints the picture for even the common person. I can’t think of another cohort that would sort of be at that range of 90% not having would I deemed to be like a staple in life, right, Like you’d be a student and have a credit card and that’s normal.

Brandi Kurtyka: 9:41
Yeah, I think that paints the picture of the financial kind of state, if you will, of the workforce. That’s the reason behind it. You think about the direct care workforce and it’s like this intersection of low wages. Folks are 53% or on some form of public assistance and that’s really common with low wage workers that are living in poverty. There’s bad or no credit. They don’t have the financial stability to get one. There’s a cost sometimes to credit cards. They can’t afford it. And I think there’s also the psychological aspect. I was struck by this one too when the data came back and for individuals that are living in poverty, the concept of borrowing money and potentially accruing debt it actually can be intimidating, especially if they’re already struggling to make ends meet. And I’ll share, jeff, like I’m a formal child of public assistance and it was commonplace to be loud and proud about paying cash for things. It’s just part of the culture of living paycheck to paycheck. So in retrospect, thinking about this data that came across it, it makes a lot of sense. I think it paints a picture of the low wages in our industry. Not an easy solve, but some interesting data that we now have at our fingertips so we can start to unpack. What to do with it?

Jeff Howell: 10:57
And I do want to shine a light on the reported ailments of caregivers as well, because I’ve been in the industry six years and this is really the first time I saw in any kind of a study or reports just like the reported ailments of caregivers, and it just struck me that we kind of forget to care about the caregivers. And so, brandi, I’m curious your thoughts on what came of the report. Kristen, I’d love to hear you weigh in on this as well.

Brandi Kurtyka: 11:23
You know, I think this issue is kind of often overlooked, but it was clear in the study that the mental health and wellness of those working in care today is something we all need to be talking about. I like to say I think our direct care workforce is doing God’s work. They’re caring for the elderly, disabled, the chronically ill, essentially ensuring the well-being of our most vulnerable citizens. Yet the study highlighted that these folks are three times more likely to struggle with anxiety and depression than the average US population, and I thought that was a sobering statistic that should give us all pause and really kind of make you think about it a little bit. Ultimately, the role of a caregiver is demanding. It’s physical, it’s emotional, it’s psychological, and these are selfless folks that are often female, they often hail from underserved communities, they’re primarily people of color, they face isolation, lack of support. These are individuals that struggle with keeping food on the table and things like childcare and transportation issues and as you start to think about it a little bit and going back to that stat that 53% of these workers are on some form of public assistance. It’s clear that you have this population that’s out there caring for other people, but they need to support framework and infrastructure very much themselves, and we talk a lot about this with providers, and it’s about coming alongside these employees More than an employer probably typically does to make them whole. Like these are individuals that need connection to supportive services. These are individuals that need training, whether that means training and coaching up to get out of poverty or training and coaching up just to take their next step Definitely a population that we need to make sure is cared for so they can deliver the best care to others.

Kristen Wheeler: 13:16
Yeah, and I would just add too to that, Brandi, if I may, that I think one thing that’s really sort of overlooked oftentimes with these folks is they’re most often not just caring for their clients. They leave their clients home after their shift. They go home, they take care of children, they take care of spouses, they take care of parents. They’re caring and caring and I know some of this comes out in the study and I know Brandi is going to get into those. When do they get the chance to rest and take care of themselves? I think they put themselves at the bottom of the totem pole, so to speak, of caring.

Jeff Howell: 13:53
Yeah, I got it All right. Well, let’s dive into the seven types of caregivers. So what you were just talking about. We have first up the career caregiver, and the broad definition of it is that the age varies, but that the defining traits is having worked in the profession for three-plus years. They most likely don’t hold jobs outside of caregiving and they desire full-time employment, so client match is of the utmost importance for them. Give us a little insight as to who the career caregiver is.

Brandi Kurtyka: 14:27
Yeah, and just to add some context to this, I actually think this is one of my biggest ah-has in the study. When they sent the data back, basically they grouped individuals in these seven different areas and the big ah-ha was looking at this data and saying, huh, most companies today are focused on recruiting only one of these personas. So we start thinking about opportunities and what can we do differently and how can we expand the pipeline. That’s why we actually, in the study, outline these seven personas, because it’s clear when you look at them, it will start with the career caregiver. This is the caregiver today that every agency is trying to recruit. You read their job ads. It’s who they’re trying to recruit. It’s who they’re hiring. It’s how their recruitment strategies are set up and essentially, the career caregiver is kind of the holy grail of what a lot of agencies want. It’s individuals that have dedicated their career to care. It’s their only job. They’re typically not working jobs outside of care. They’re going to identify as a caregiver or a CNA. This is your group that’s searching online for caregiver jobs. They most likely want to work full-time. This is a group that’s going to be concerned if they’re working with a patient that’s fallen ill or has passed away because they’re worried about their next jobs. They don’t want to work an outside job, they want to work in care, and this is fundamentally typically the group that agencies are focused on, either exclusively or certainly the group that agencies want to expand their pipeline and bring more people in. There’s too few of this group.

Jeff Howell: 16:01
And I would think that a lot of them would come through a my CNA jobs kind of source.

Brandi Kurtyka: 16:07
Yeah, well, you know it’s interesting, jeff. So, across those 67,000 caregivers in the sample size, all of these caregivers were on my CNA jobs, every single one of them. But the interesting thing is, like, how people recruit and attract these people is different. So that’s where the opportunity lies. So they’re all in our community, but I would say companies that are focused on attracting all of these individuals are getting a broader array of types of applicants, if you will, versus companies that are just focused on and assuming everyone identifies as a caregiver, a CNA or a home health aide.

Jeff Howell: 16:46
And I’m just looking at in the report, under tips to engage career, caregivers are concerned about losing clients, not having ours. That’s pretty powerful.

Brandi Kurtyka: 16:54
Yeah, they don’t want to necessarily work an outside job. These are your folks that, like want to stay in care. What you worry about with this group from a turnover perspective is like a bad client match or not having shifts for them to stay in care. That’s ultimately what they want to do.

Jeff Howell: 17:12
And I would say to be in the profession for three plus years, they don’t want to seek outside employment. We haven’t looked at the others yet, but I’m assuming this is probably what. Once you find the career caregiver, you should go all in on making sure that you do what you can to find the best match clients for them, cause they’ll stick around for the longest period of time of all the personas I presume.

Brandi Kurtyka: 17:33
Absolutely absolutely.

Jeff Howell: 17:35
Okay, unlike the caring on the side caregiver. So this is typically a middle-aged woman, not likely to have children, that tend to work in hourly jobs ranging from care to call centers to retail and fast food, transient in work, heavy internet users and enjoy donating to liberal and cultural causes and R&B music. So this seems sort of like your typical gig economy worker.

Brandi Kurtyka: 18:06
Yeah, and you know what, Every time I’m presenting this, jeff, everyone says I don’t want that persona, I want less of that persona. And as I talk about this persona, I want to plant a seed that, at the end of the day, there’s not enough caregivers working in care. We now have the data to say here’s the seven personas. The strategy to scaling hiring is about including each and every one of these personas in your strategy and getting good in making each of these personas work well for your organization, because caring on the side there’s can actually become some of your biggest brand advocates, if you will. Internally, what is unique about this group? To me, these are the gig workers. They’re hourly. You’re gonna see them at the mall, you’re gonna see them in Uber, you’re gonna see them at call center. They come to care because it’s mission driven and it’s the opportunity, if you will, to do something different, and it’s care roles that bring meeting and purpose to their life and what they do. So this persona is definitely different than the last persona, and something that’s really different is flexibility is very, very important for these caring on the side. They work in care because they want to and they can be your biggest brand advocates, but the reality is they are working jobs that most often pay more money. So flexibility is really important with this group Because at the end of the day, they need their care job to work around their other jobs, because their other jobs are paying more money and kind of making a more financially whole.

Jeff Howell: 19:37
So it sounds like they’re as capable as the career caregiver, but they’ve got other things on the go and they could be. The sum of all of the caring on the ciders could be great. Sounds like they would take on a smaller caseload and what’s important to them is just to get the right shifts. They seem to be like a bit of a part-time version of the career caregiver.

Brandi Kurtyka: 19:58
Yeah, yeah. I think they’re all equally capable. I think what they want out of a job, what they want out of a company and what they want out of their next step is just different.

Jeff Howell: 20:10
Okay, let’s move on to young and on the move. Young adults aged 18 to 24, that are a mix of students and working professionals, unlikely to have children and live on a limited income. They have a hunger to grow and enjoy connecting with brands and working jobs that don’t get in the way of life.

Brandi Kurtyka: 20:32
So these are young folks that want to change the world. So this is a group of people that is very mission driven. They don’t quite know what their path is necessarily going to look like and when we say students, it’s not necessarily healthcare students, it’s students that are looking for their next step. It’s interesting Like actually at my CNA jobs we’ll see like a lot of people coming through that might be going to school for business or HR, but they might be working a care job on the side. So what’s really key with this group similar to caring on the ciders is flexibility is key. Driving home mission and vision of an organization is key. Again, these are kind of like our world changers, this persona. They’re hungry, they want to work, they want to learn, but they also have the mentality. A challenge here is that work should enhance their life. They work to live, if you will. We need to grow this pipeline because fundamentally, we need to get more people into care and to stay in care. So this is a persona, though that might not even know what a caregiver job is, unless they’ve had a grandparent or a parent or a family experience. They might not just apply to a caregiver job because they don’t know what a caregiver job necessarily is. So how you attract and retain this group is different from the others.

Jeff Howell: 21:53
And I would suspect that, like our data that we have, we analyze the building home care visits and every age cohort. If you look at people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, it got more loyal with every age cohort. So I think that you should go in knowing that 18 to 24 year olds just by default they have their whole lives ahead of them their ability to switch instead of someone in their 60s that might may say this is all I’m doing is definitely going to be higher. So I see how this group appreciates the connection to a purpose behind their work. I’m going to make a prediction that maybe the cohorts that would be most likely to start off caregiving and maybe move into some kind of back office rule, coordination or scheduling. That might be an interesting way to continue to make sure that they have growth opportunities in their eyes.

Brandi Kurtyka: 22:44
Sure, potentially. And the other thing and I’m glad you brought that up I also think there’s an opportunity for agencies to come alongside an employee and get the most out of that employee at whatever stage they’re at in their life, knowing the job might be a stepping stone. There’s a lot of agencies that just think or assume what’s your five year path with me, what’s your one year path with me? I think there’s an opportunity to recognize, like this doesn’t have to be everybody’s path. It doesn’t have to be everybody’s path to even stay and work inside the organization, but if we can build a workforce, if you will, they can really connect to the meeting and the purpose behind this role and it works for them and it works for the agency. I think it’s a missed opportunity to not allow people to feel like it’s okay, that this is a stepping stone.

Jeff Howell: 23:35
Okay, the next one is oodles of offspring, young female households, often with multiple children, a mix of renters and homeowners with limited income. They enjoy spending money on their kids and putting family before work.

Brandi Kurtyka: 23:51
Yeah. So if I was a caregiver, jeff, I have four kids. This is me. Oodles of offspring, yeah. So you know what oodles of offspring? They’re naturally great caregivers because they’re moms and they have lots of kids at home. So these tend to be like great caregivers because it’s like what they do day in and day out. That being said, what they care about is wages, flexibility, and they care about the opportunity to move up in life. This is a very active persona. They’re juggling lots of kids, they’re struggling to make ends meet, but they really value people. And what’s interesting, when you talk about wages from an oodles of offspring perspective, it’s actually less about what’s my starting wage, but these are like movers and shakers and they’re building a family and they kind of want to know what’s their next step and they want to feel like they are progressing. And when you think about this persona and how to engage this persona, retain this persona. I think your biggest weapon is focusing on that family oriented culture. It’s about flexibility and it’s about creating a culture, if you will, of growth, whether that just means learning something new. This is a persona that wants to feel like they’re moving.

Jeff Howell: 25:07
When I looked at this, I thought, hey, there’s so many agencies that are sharing caregivers amongst other agencies, and what struck me about this is what a great way to build loyalty with an oodle of offspring by having community minded culture get together, and that could be a great way to be able to give more hours to those caregivers, instead of them spending their time between multiple agencies.

Brandi Kurtyka: 25:34

Jeff Howell: 25:36
Okay, we’ve got the single moving mamas. Single moms that move around frequently have below average discretionary income and are most likely a renter. They value connecting with brands, discount stores and worrying about making ends meet to support their kids.

Brandi Kurtyka: 25:54
Yeah, so this group similar to our last group, but they have less resources and they have less support at home. So I think this group is similar in terms of looking for wage progression. They’re looking for their next step, they’re looking for a pathway up. This is definitely a group that needs a support infrastructure and flexibility is important. As a single mom and again I shared 53% of these individuals are on some form of public assistance. This group makes awesome caregivers again because the last group it’s in their blood, it’s what they do. Care is kind of just who they are. But this group benefits from a support infrastructure and is going to struggle with things like childcare and transportation, perhaps a little bit more than some of the other groups, because this is the poorest of the poor groups, of all of the personas, because they don’t necessarily have that financial support and infrastructure at home.

Jeff Howell: 26:53
This one really struck me, as if you’re using a rewards program, even if it’s just like a micro rewards program, like a company like caribou, where you’re rewarding clocking in and clocking out in proper documentation referrals. This seems to me like the kind of persona that if they’re motivated by coupons and discounts, they’re also going to be equally motivated by internal rewards programs that agencies can offer.

Brandi Kurtyka: 27:18
We operate a rewards and recognition platform called CoachUpCare and we don’t necessarily see one group engaging more than another group. I think they’re all kind of inspired from a rewards and recognition standpoint. I think how you reward and recognize them varies. Like your single move in mama’s, like they pride themselves on looking at themselves and look I’m doing it all. Like how you reward and how you talk to this group might just be different than another group. Like career caregiver, for instance, they really want to be recognized around the great care they’re delivering they take pride in like I am a great caregiver and that’s how they want to be recognized. You’re caring on the siders probably want to be recognized for things like picking up extra shifts. You’re young and on the move, like these are your short-term milestone folks. Like they want to be recognized for hitting those milestones. So I think they all kind of have a theme of rewards and recognition is something that is important and ultimately engaging them in reducing turnover. But I think it just varies on strategy, based on who the persona is.

Jeff Howell: 28:26
All right, we’re going to close out the final two. It looks like we’re kind of now back on, going on a track of chronological order by age. We’re at the empty nesters young retirees or near retirees that enjoy spending time with their grandchildren, daytime, television and sewing, living on limited income. They also enjoy getting out of the house and shopping for personal care and apparel items.

Brandi Kurtyka: 28:52
Yeah, so these next two personas skew on the older side of all of the personas. One interesting thing about both of these next two personas are both limited income. So across all of the personas, everyone kind of ranked in that lower income category Empty nesters. They’re doing this because they want to get out of the house for a few hours each week. They want to help their community. They’re not necessarily worried at this stage about having enough money for retirement, but it’s helpful to have some extra income, Like they appreciate some play money, if you will. What they care about is they really care about a good client match. They don’t really feel like they have to work. They want to work. They want to go into the home of someone and make a difference, have a good conversation. That’s what they care about. So the money is nice, but they ultimately do it to make a difference and that caregiver match is something that’s really critical. Like that’s the number one reason that this persona would leave a job is there’s not a good client match in the home.

Jeff Howell: 29:54
So they want to generate some extra play money and spoil their grandchildren without the hours getting in the way of spending time with their grandkids, and probably a low caseload with as few clients as possible, so they can cultivate deep relationships and make a big impact on a small number of people, I would presume.

Brandi Kurtyka: 30:14
You got it.

Jeff Howell: 30:16
Okay, we’re going to round it out with group number seven, the still going strong retirees Females in their 60s that enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and getting out of the house. Living on limited discretionary income, they are somewhat concerned about having enough money to retire.

Brandi Kurtyka: 30:36
Yeah, so it’s different about this group little older than our last group, but the money concerns start to come in here. So the last persona was maybe more focused on it’s really nice to get some play money. This group is oh shoot, I’m not quite sure if I have enough to retire. So wages are more influential to this group than the last group, but it’s very similar to the last group in terms of their why, like they want to help someone in their community. Bad client match as a big turnover risk, but really for this group. This group is going to doubt that they have the skill set to do the job. So one of the biggest turnover risk with this group is like they don’t know how to take care of a client. This group can’t go into a client’s home and let’s say they’re diabetic and they don’t know how to cook a diabetic meal. That’s going to push this group out the door. So this group needs confidence that they have the skills and the training and the resources, if you will, that are needed to really give good care in the home to their specific client. So education is key here.

Jeff Howell: 31:40
Yeah, I was surprised by this one, because it never really struck me that a still going strong retiree would be entering the care workforce for the first time. It doesn’t strike you that someone’s going to be 65 years old and then just decide to take up the caregiving profession.

Brandi Kurtyka: 31:56
Pretty cool, I think. Actually I think this is a group that probably wants to get out of the house. And again, these are folks that are still worried about money, low income. They’re kind of worried they might not have enough to make ends meet to retire on.

Jeff Howell: 32:10
Well, we have a few minutes left, so I got three more questions for you all. My first question is if we repeat the study in five years, any predictions on what’s going to change?

Brandi Kurtyka: 32:19
Good question. So I think a lot of that depends on how the landscape changes over the next five years. What happens to wages, reimbursement rates is going to play a role in determining what this looks like. I’m hopeful to see that people are more financially whole Things professionalize as a career path and that we grow the workforce of folks that may just want to take on a case or two on the side to help their community have a greater blend, if you will, of people that are working in care. But I think there’s a lot that’s going to be the same too. I think you have a special group of people that, although they’re primarily struggling to make ends meet, they love people and the hope is that there’s just more of them in five years to meet the care demands that we’re going to have.

Kristen Wheeler: 33:03
Yeah, I have to agree with Brandi on all of that that I think that a lot of it will look similar. Hopefully we’ll see a much smaller percentage of turnover rates happening in the industry, but we’re really in a perfect position right now to really elevate the image of this profession and draw more folks into it?

Jeff Howell: 33:22
And, Kristen, what recommendations would you have for policy makers?

Kristen Wheeler: 33:26
I have to say that never before have we heard the term home care being whispered in the holes of the Capitol building as much as we are today. We really need to continue that momentum. I would say that policy makers need to look at a couple of things sooner rather than later. First, there needs to be an industry-endorsed federal training for caregivers. There’s no national standards when it comes to this type of worker. If there were federal training standards for caregivers coming into the space and if states were encouraged to adopt those standards, I think that would make a huge difference to the profession itself. Secondly, I think that immigration policies need to be evaluated and amended to provide a visa classification specifically for qualified foreign-born individuals that are providing services to the aged and disabled, to allow them to get here and or to stay here and provide those services.

Jeff Howell: 34:21
Brandi anything to add.

Brandi Kurtyka: 34:23
Yeah. So what Kristen said nodding my head over here, even though you can’t see me here on the podcast the only thing that I would add is I think that we need to focus on stabilizing the existing workforce. There’s a lot of talk on bringing more people into care, which we certainly need to do, but the thing that keeps me up at night is we’re seeing experienced people leave the industry. So I think specifically targeting the people that are already here is something that’s really important. Federal government is the biggest funder of workforce training and development and I think that sometimes nurses get confused with an HHA or a caregiver, and I think a direct investment in the front-line caregivers and front-line home health aides from an upskilling and support standpoint is really critical. And, just to echo what Kristen was saying about a federal credential, we need to reduce barriers Like the reality is there’s still caregivers, like here in the state of Florida, that need to pay for their own background check to get to work or need to pay for their own training to get to work, so things like that and the barriers of certifications not being able to cross state lines like we need to block and tackle all of those barriers really quickly and, I think from a policy perspective as well, like we need to focus on the health of the provider and the health of the worker, like blocking those proposed CMS cuts and focusing on how we can help both the provider be whole so they can make the caregiver whole. That’s what’s going to help us move the needle.

Jeff Howell: 35:55
Yeah, I love it. Obviously, bringing in new workers with a visa classification is a supply of new caregivers to help with the industry. Love the idea of this federal standard, particularly in our new age where location is such a transient concept these days. After COVID and then stabilizing the existing workforce, Brandi Business will tell you it’s much easier to keep an existing customer than to try to bring in a new one, and same thing goes with workforce. So let me get you out of here. On this last question, Brandi will start with you. What advice would you have for home care and home health agencies?

Brandi Kurtyka: 36:32
Yeah, a few things. Advocacy I think Washington needs to hear more voices and stories about the challenges that caregivers and operators are facing today. Where we started on the personas, think differently about expanding your pipeline. How can you build strategies to attract and retain those different personas? There’s a lot of opportunities there. Other piece of advice is just make sure you’re focused on the right KPIs. I mean, at the end of the day, what you measure is going to drive the results that you get. I think there’s a huge opportunity for providers to really get under the hood and say hey, what are we going to measure here and where are we losing people in the recruitment and retention funnel? And last but not least, I think spend just as much time on retention as you do recruitment, and I think there’s a tendency sometimes to spend more time on recruiting because it’s more known and maybe it even feels easier than retention, but I think it’s just as important. And so there’s an opportunity for providers to invest equally from a retention standpoint that they do from a recruiting standpoint.

Kristen Wheeler: 37:35
I agree with every word that Brandi said. Of course, for sure, retention is critical. The only thing I would add is to just tell everybody hang in there. I mean, this is a huge industry. Now it’s in the spotlight more than it’s ever been before. I was a home care agency owner myself. I get it. I know what it’s like. It’s a tough job for all of us, but it’s easily one of the most rewarding industries at the end of the day. So don’t give up. It’s good stuff and we need it All of us.

Jeff Howell: 38:05
Well, it’s an honor to spend part of my day hearing about firsthand the both innovative and noble work that both of you are doing, and I trust the audience has been equally inspired. We will include a link in the show notes so everyone can actually go take a look at this PDF that I actually shared in our internal Slack channel. It was the most emojied PDF I’ve ever put into a Slack channel, so thank you both for being here today.

Kristen Wheeler: 38:32
Thank you, jeff. Thank you so much, jeff, for having us.

Jeff Howell: 38:37
Home Health 360 is presented by AlayaCare. First off, we want to thank our amazing guests and listeners. To get more episodes, you can go to alayacare. com/ homeh ealth 360 that’s spelled home health 360 or search home health 360 on any of your favorite podcasting platforms. The easiest way to stay up to date on our new shows is to subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. We also have a newsletter you can sign up for on alayacare. com/ home health 360 to get alerts for new shows and more valuable content from AlayaCare right into your inbox. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.

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Home Health 360 - Episode 49

Episode Description

Discover the key to attracting and keeping caregivers! Join us for an enlightening conversation with Brandi Kurtyka, CEO of Mission Care Collective, and Kristen Wheeler, Executive Director of the NAHC, as they unravel the intricate world of the caregiving. Together, they will delve into the 7 unique caregiver personas identified in their groundbreaking study, and share valuable insights on how to effectively recruit and retain each persona. Don’t miss out on Brandi and Kristen’s expert policy recommendations, aimed at nurturing the caregiver profession’s expansion and success.

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