Strengthening the Senior Care Workforce: Mission Critical


I’ve been on a speaking mission across the country these last few months, attending and presenting at conferences ranging from Sacramento, California to Orlando, Florida.  At every session, providers mention that their #1 concern is staffing:  attracting good quality applicants (or any applicants at all, in some cases) and keeping their best and brightest (or just keeping people, period).

We often spend most of the time talking about how to attract and engage the younger millennial workers today and how training fits into the whole picture.

With this topic in the front of my mind, when a friend sent me a link to this article, “3 Ways to strengthen the senior living workforce” from McKnight’s Senior Living, I clicked through and read it.

Surprise, surprise: the report that forms the basis for this article starts out, “Training of direct-care workers has been shown to improve quality of care and worker satisfaction and reduce turnover.”

This report is not only singing my tune, they expand on it significantly, directing policymakers to pay attention to training as a way to meet the critical workforce needs just around the corner.

In fact, the “3 Ways” mentioned in the headline are these:

- Leverage state colleges and universities to educate current and future workers.

- Improve the competency level of workers.

- Establish state standards and funding streams for training and quality assurance.

And that got me thinking.  Perhaps there are ways that providers can also effect change in these areas.  Here are some thoughts:

- Leveraging your local colleges.  Did you know that your local community college has a mandate to provide training programs that meet the needs of local employers?  What if you starting working with your local college to provide personal care aide certification, CNA or home health aide certification?  We’ve got the curriculum for each of these programs ready to roll and will help you advocate in your community.  Make sure your local college is well aware of your hiring needs.

- If you’re offering more than the minimum level of training required in your care setting you’re going a long way to build the competency level of your workers.  What about offering training to people who aren’t employees?  Family caregivers who receive training may become your future employees, and many providers find this a good way to recruit workers who are already trained and ready to work.  Imagine getting your pick of new hires out of a class of students, selecting only those who will build your team and your reputation.

- If your state does not already have a significant standard for training it will.  This is a strong push on both state and federal levels.  Be prepared – or better yet, train ahead and beat the competition with a more attractive work place and higher level of service.

The need for more direct care workers will be a challenge to be addressed on multiple levels as we face an aging population.  As senior care providers we should be in the forefront with clear solutions to this challenge.  It affects our workers, our clients and our ability to grow strong, prosperous, lasting businesses ensuring quality care to our clients.

2 Responses to “Strengthening the Senior Care Workforce: Mission Critical”

  1. Lillian Jacquez

    Very interesting and great recommendations provided in this article.

    Thank you.


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