Far from becoming an employer market, hiring home health care workers is as hard as ever, industry executives say.
In September, Home Health Care News said industry jobs posted on Indeed were trending down, suggesting “home health and home care agencies simply aren’t looking to fill as many positions.” With the national unemployment rate at 8.4% in August and fewer jobs to fill, agencies would have an easier time recruiting.
Even then, some agency leaders felt differently.
“I think we have to respectfully disagree with that point, because it is challenging for us to find caregivers — and very challenging for us also finding the right one,” Ryan Iwamoto, the president and co-founder of 24 Hour Home Care, said in September. “That has been probably the biggest challenge that we’ve had.”
Now, an October survey by myCNAjobs found 57% of 281 participating home health care agencies admitting they are struggling with recruiting staff. Only 5% maintain they are doing well.
Despite a still high unemployment rate, hiring workers has become so much a challenge that 71% of the agencies report turning down business because they didn’t have the staff.
One important reason for the recruiting difficulty, according to 87% of the agencies, is COVID. 72% said the pandemic has also made retention and scheduling more difficult.
Just getting people to apply for a job is difficult. Almost 3 in 10 agencies say they get too few applicants; 23% say they can’t get applicants to call them back. And 35% say when an interview is scheduled, the candidates simply don’t show up.
That’s lead the industry to try bold new recruiting methods and experiment with flexibility in requirements and scheduling for their workers.
“COVID will reshape the labor market in many industries for quite some time,” said Brandi Kurtyka, the CEO of myCNAjobs, speaking at the online conference of the Home Care Association of America last month.
That’s already the case at Alternate Solutions Health Network, one of the largest operators in the country.
Amy Smith, corporate VP of revenue cycles, told Home Health Care News that Alternate Solutions courts restaurant workers. After bringing several on staff, the company discovered their experience in the busy, customer-focused food service environment taught them how to multitask effectively.
Instead of leaning toward candidates with health care experience, the company now looks more for candidates able to multitask, undaunted by the need to “start, pause, start something else, pause, and go back to something that was started weeks ago.”