Attracting and retaining qualified employees has become increasingly difficult for senior living organizations. With senior care workers facing under appreciation, burnout from high workloads, and low wages, retaining existing employees is hard enough, let alone drawing in new ones. Many of these senior living organizations attempt to attract employees with an increase in monetary incentives. While effective, financial incentives are not possible for all communities, particularly in light of COVID-19’s effects on many communities’ financial positions.
A study by the Center for Disease Control showed that an estimated 20% of seniors aged 55 or older experience some form of mental health concern. The most common mental health issues include severe cognitive impairment, anxiety, and mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder.
Wellzesta’s incorporation of technology to ease senior living staff’s workloads aids in employee satisfaction and decreases staff turnover.
In an article by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, several medical professionals expressed the growing need for technology in senior living, particularly in combating employee turnover.
With an increase in demand for caregivers, both at home and in senior living communities, contrasted against an annual turnover rate of 40 to 75 percent, the importance of reducing employee turnover in the senior care industry is not to be taken lightly.
While employee turnover in any industry is costly and damaging to the organization, the specific dangers this issue creates in senior care are unique.
The disruption in the consistency of caregiving services can negatively impact outcomes for both residents and staff wellbeing. Residents’ mental health can be affected when they are routinely subjected to new and rotating staff, forcing them to endure the emotional impact of lost relationships with previous caregivers. Continued turnover can lead to periods of understaffing, resulting in overworked employees and further amplifying the negative impact felt by residents.
Along with causing distress among residents and staff, employee turnover can be extremely expensive. Costing organizations, on average, $2500 per turn over at a rate of 40% in the first 90 days, continued employee turnover is simply not something that most senior living communities can afford.
This is why putting systems in place that actively work toward retaining staff in eldercare and achieving staff satisfaction is essential in reducing employee turnover.
Wellzesta is a technology company that specializes in preventing employee turnover and encouraging wellbeing in its users. Designed specifically with senior living staff in mind, Wellzesta Elevate is a comprehensive platform that works to ease caregiver workload and streamline communication in order to foster employee wellbeing.
When an employee feels that their voice is heard, they are 4.6 times more likely to perform their best at work. By providing a way for employers to collect staff feedback and satisfaction scores, Elevate allows communities the opportunity to empower employees and solve inefficiencies, effectively achieving higher employee retention rates.
Along with dissatisfaction, an increase in senior living staff workload is another consequence of high employee turnover. As facilities continue to encounter high turnover rates and are faced with understaffing, they are forced to over-schedule caregivers. Overwhelmed by their duties, employees can experience burnout, which can affect the quality of care that staff in eldercare are able to provide, and can also result in safety issues for residents.
“Our staff have been asked to take on a lot this past year during COVID, both extra work and emotional support. It’s time we give them something that benefits their own wellness. The Elevate app does just that.” Ann S., Director of Human Resources.
Additionally, ineffective communication in senior living communities can increase workload and cause distress among staff in eldercare. Without a way to quickly communicate urgent updates, preventative measures, or delegate duties to various staff, miscommunication is inevitable. However, in an industry where miscommunication could result in causing harm, applying efficient communication channels becomes all the more necessary.
Caregivers are an indispensable part of a senior’s wellness journey. Any action that goes towards improving a senior living staff’s work experience and relieving some of the pressure of this high-stress career should be a priority among senior living communities.
Here are a few ways Wellzesta Elevate is combating employee turnover and increasing job satisfaction in eldercare workers:
Wellness has been reimagined during this time of quarantine and isolation. As many are adjusting their daily rituals, they are searching for different practices to weave into their lives. Seniors, who are particularly impacted by social isolation, are finding new ways of engaging with technology and wellness. Matthew Russell, MD, of Massachusetts General notes, “Many seniors have learned to adopt evolving technology, which they may not have prior to COVID-19.”
Wellzesta has long been committed to serving low vision residents. For years, the "events section" has offered consistent support for low vision Wellzesta users. Specifically, the monthly calendar can be zoomed an infinite amount using the pinch-to-zoom functionality. Additionally, DOT, the Wellzesta digital coach, can speak the daily events calendar.
Recent surges in coronavirus cases have made it clear that it may be quite some time before our world returns to normal. This pandemic has particularly impacted seniors and senior living communities, as seniors are facing unprecedented social isolation. Across the country, however, many seniors are getting to know a new friend—Alexa. With more than 3 billion virtual assistants already deployed around the globe, it’s clear that voice-controlled technology is going to continue to play an ever-increasing role in how we interact with each other and our world. Unlike some of the technological revolutions before it, the “Voice Revolution” is finding a special adoption among the older generation. Voice technology, especially when used in conjunction with engagement platforms like Wellzesta, has been shown to enrich seniors’ lives, alleviate workload from community staff, and increase occupancy rates.
For me, the whole notion of HealthCare has always meant the joining of science and spirituality, with health rooted in science and care connected to spirituality – our universal ‘oneness’ - guided by the golden rule – treat others as you would have them treat you. Love, kindness, joy, gentleness, patience, and goodness to name a few outward emotions we all like to receive from others, especially our caregivers. Growing up in the 70’s, the doctors in my small town often made house calls. The doctor’s kind and gentle “bedside manner” meant everything to us.