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Improving Caregiver Retention: Matching the Right Caregiver to the Right Client/Patient

Published on June 18, 2021 by Jarica Steinke

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Studies show that good relationships between caregivers and their clients can significantly improve caregiver retention and help agencies flourish.

Well-matched caregiver-client relationships are known to play a vital role in:

  • Higher caregiver satisfaction
  • Higher client/patient satisfaction
  • Improved caregiver retention rates
  • Increased referrals
  • More efficient back-office staff (less time wasted on last-minute schedule changes, mediating conflicts, etc.)
  • Better relationships between agency and client/patient’s family
  • Improved relationships with agency referral partners
  • Attracting prospective caregivers and clients/patients
  • Increased profit – business growth and success.

Here we list the top seven factors that will help ensure your caregivers and clients form long-lasting relationships with each other and with your home care agency.

1 – Physical

Caregiving can be physically challenging. You need to make sure the caregiver’s physical ability is a good fit for the client’s requirements. Is the caregiver able to physically do everything the client needs, for example, bathing, dressing, transferring them from a wheelchair to a bed, or helping them in and out of a car or the shower?

Your caregiver needs to feel confident they are working in a safe environment, and your client needs to know they are in safe, capable hands and not at risk of falling or being accidentally hurt. In some cases, where all other criteria indicate a good match, it is worth considering the use of physical aids, such as transfer belts, as the right caregiver can easily be trained to use these to prevent injury to either party.

2 – Medical

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Caregivers must be qualified to meet the clients’ medical needs. This may include tasks like overseeing medication and prescription usage, administering medicine, and health monitoring. If the client requires specific medical attention or regular tests, the caregiver may need training to meet these needs confidently and effectively.

Where necessary, consider offering training opportunities to your caregivers. As they become more qualified, they can help your agency serve more clients. As a bonus, offering the opportunity to learn and grow is a great way to improve caregiver retention!

3 – Personality

A caregiver often provides far more than just medical assistance. Over time they can become a stable companion and support for their clients.

Agencies that consider personality compatibility when placing caregivers with clients typically find that this extra step is valuable in both caregiver and client satisfaction and retention.

Many personality-profiling tests are available – from simple tests found online to extensive scientifically validated testing. Regardless of whether you use a formal assessment to match caregivers with clients, it is helpful to be aware of the basic personality types and how caregivers can best work with each.

Smartcare’s solution uses machine learning (ML) and unique matching algorithms to help home care providers match caregivers and patients. With Smartcare, agencies can leverage the latest technology to better match caretakers and clients, create strong caretaker/client bonds, and improve both caregiver and client retention.

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4 – Scheduling

Every home care agency will have a wide variety of clients requiring different levels of service. When matching caregivers to clients, it is essential to consider the availability of the caregiver alongside the frequency of service required by the client.

While it is possible to have several caregivers on rotation to care for a client, a much stronger caregiver-client relationship will develop if you can schedule one consistent caregiver. However, it is equally important to make sure a single caregiver is willing and able to work the hours required without additional support.

This is one area where scheduling software can help you. For example, Smartcare’s unique dynamic scheduling dashboard removes the need to juggle complex scheduling software, spreadsheets, or time-consuming tasks to ensure shift cover. With Smartcare’s scheduling tools, you not only save costs but also save time managing shifts, align your caregivers’ work preferences with clients’ specific needs, and maximize the human connection.

5 – Location

Several benchmark studies covering caregiver satisfaction reveal that caregivers prefer not to travel too far to get to their clients’ homes. This has become even more important since the COVID-19 pandemic and is likely to remain a high priority.

Where possible, it is best to match caregivers with clients that live near their own home. This not only improves caregiver job satisfaction but is also a bonus for the client if they unexpectedly require help at short notice. A caregiver that lives in their immediate area will be able to reach them faster.

If you find a great caregiver-client match, but the location is a problem, don’t immediately rule it out! If the relationship match is a good one, many caregivers will be willing to travel the extra distance if you can offer travel reimbursement, a prepaid gas card, or some other form of benefit/reward to compensate them and show your appreciation.

6 – Lifestyle habits/work environment

Many factors influence a home/work environment, and talented caregivers are used to adapting to the situations each client’s home presents. However, some conditions can significantly impact a caregiver’s job satisfaction. For example:

  • Habits, e.g. is the client a smoker or can they not tolerate smokers.
  • Allergies, e.g. does the client have pets the caregiver may be allergic to, or vice versa.
  • Hygiene, e.g. is the home a hygienic space to work in, or does the client require additional home cleaning or grooming services?
  • Personal preferences, e.g. are there other factors that may influence the home environment, such as children, pets, excessive noise, smells, etc.?

Smartcare’s caregiver-patient matching algorithms can help providers schedule the right caregivers for clients. Information like allergies and smoking are considered when the scheduling application recommends the best caretaker matches.

7 – Language/cultural differences

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Your home care agency’s team of caregivers needs to be able to cover a range of linguistic and cultural expectations.

Language is clearly of crucial importance when matching caregivers with clients, as they must be able to communicate with each other effectively. Language should never be a barrier, so if clients need someone with a working knowledge of their native language, it is important to provide that.

In the case of cultural expectations, this should be an area your agency covers during onboarding and through ongoing training, guided by a commitment to mutual respect.

Culturally, though some caregivers and clients will enjoy learning about new cultures together, many clients prefer to have things done a certain way in their homes. You will need to be mindful of any significant cultural differences when matching them with a caregiver.

The best way to ensure that you’re delivering the best possible care in each situation is to ask questions and listen to answers. While people worry that making personal inquiries about language and culture may be perceived as rude or cause offense, maintaining open lines of communication is one of the best ways to foster a positive, culturally sensitive caregiving environment.

In addition to hiring the best caregivers for your agency, your retention strategy needs to include matching them with suitable clients/patients for maximum caregiver/client satisfaction.

Coordinators in charge of scheduling must possess a thorough knowledge of each caregiver’s skills and personality and each client’s requirements and characteristics – and pair them up accordingly.

Using Smartcare’s unique machine learning (ML) technology and matching algorithms, you can identify better matches between caregivers and clients every time. Your agency can also tailor your matching solution to local market criteria, further cementing the caregiver-to-patient bond and increasing caregiver and client retention rates.

Identifying compatibility in caregiver assignments means you can attract prospective caregivers (who will stick around longer for good clients) and clients who know you will match them with the most suitable caregiver. In addition, good relationships built between caregivers and clients will extend to their circle of relatives and lead to a relationship of trust for all parties.

The evolution of home care is considerable, and those who can solve the equation of caregiver-client satisfaction and retention will be the big winners.

If you would like more information about any of the software solutions mentioned above, please contact us today. A member of our team will be happy to discuss how Smartcare can benefit your organization.