Steps to Improve Case Acceptance Rates For Home Care Agencies

Home health nurse caring for an elderly patient

According to the Home Care Pulses (HCP) annual Home Care Provider Report, over 85% of agencies across the US & Canada were forced to turn down cases in the last year due to a shortage of caregivers on staff. The report also notes that the cost of acquiring clients has fallen to the lowest in nearly five years. So, what can agencies deduce from this information?

  1. The demand for in-home care is increasing.
  2. The supply of caregivers available does not meet the demand.

Consequences of Having to Turn Down a Client:

As the demand for in-home care services grows, agencies are finding that more and more, they have to turn down clients due to a lack of caregivers. With this being the case, agencies miss out on the following:

  • Revenue: An agency's median revenue per caregiver is nearly $14,000. This number varies widely depending on the market, but one thing is clear: when you're turning down clients because you don't have enough people on staff, you're losing out on some serious revenue.
  • Referrals: For every case turned down, agencies miss out on the chance for a referral from that client. The average agency gets about half its new clients from referrals — meaning that each time you turn down a client because you don't have enough caregivers available, there's another opportunity lost for acquiring new business.

Improving Your Agencies Recruitment & Retention Efforts to Increase Case Acceptance:

Historically, home care agencies have had an exceptionally difficult time recruiting & retaining caregivers. So much so that Home Care Pulses report stated the top two threats agencies will face in the upcoming are:

  1. Caregiver Shortages
  2. Caregiver Turnover

With this being the case, agencies lacking the means to throw money at the problem must approach this topic more strategically. So, where should your agency start?

Recruitment vs. retention, Where should your agency focus?

Choosing whether to hire new caregivers or retain existing ones largely depends on your agency's current headcount and the number of inquiries your seeing. If you're finding that your agency can't keep up with the current demand, then there are better times to be looking at ways to retain your workforce. However, suppose your caregiver retention rates are significantly worse than the national average (65.2%). In that case, you may be better off looking to solve your agency's retention issues so as to save your time hiring caregivers only to have them quit shortly after.

Tips & Tricks to Recruit & Onboard More Caregivers:

  1. Bring on clients who are being taken care of by a family member: Many agencies overlook the number of elderly individuals who are currently being taken care of by family members. Agencies can make an appealing offer for the caregiver and the individual who requires care by providing additional support for the individuals needing care and a paycheck for the caregiver.
  2. Offer Caregivers a Signing Bonus: Money is an incredible motivator when recruiting caregivers. With the industry's high turnover rate, agencies will want to protect their bottom line. So, we've seen other agencies succeed in offering a signing bonus with a payment schedule. For example, an agency could offer a $1000 signing bonus paid out over the first four months of the caregiver's employment. This structure will drive more applicants and improve the likelihood that a caregiver will stay with your agency longer.Create a
  3. Referral Program: Create an incentive for caregivers who refer a friend who works for you, whether a cash bonus or a gift. If someone refers someone else to work with you, that's great! Give them something in return! People do things when they're more likely to get something out of it.
  4. Show them what it'll be like to work for your agency: Create engaging, educational content that will give potential recruits a look at their future if they work with your agency.

Tips & Tricks to Retain Caregivers

Considering the average caregiver turnover rate for a Home Care agency is upwards of 65%, the thought of devoting any significant amount of time or effort to it seems like a lost cause. But what if we look at the objective here from a different angle? What if we considered it as giving employees a reason to stay or, better yet, not leave?

  1. Make it incredibly easy for Caregivers to start working with you: One aspect of the recruiting process many administrators overlook is caregiver onboarding. In our conversations with HR leaders in the industry, one recurring theme was the importance of onboarding. From our conversations with dozens of agencies, we've found that one area that greatly impacts the number of caregivers an agency hires is the number of caregivers that drop out of the onboarding process. So, when it comes to caregiver onboarding, you must get them in and get them started, or you may never see them again.
  2. Give more to the ones who stay: A time-based benefit/compensation structure is a great way to give new caregivers something to look forward to and make it more difficult for caregivers to justify leaving.
  3. Invest in upward mobility: A great way to retain your workforce is to allow caregivers to build a career working with you. Creating programs to help caregivers progress in their careers is a great way to ensure they stay at your agency.

All said and done, there are countless ways for your agency to increase its case acceptance rate. However, your agency must choose its battles wisely and stick to the plan to ensure success.