Study: What type of home care worker leaves for greener pastures

Characteristics of home care workers who leave their jobs: A cross-sectional
study of job satisfaction and turnover in Washington State

Washington State surveyed more than 400 home care workers who have left
their jobs recently in order to compare certain demographic characteristics
to current home care workers.

The researchers found that the “leavers” had generally achieved higher levels of education and were more likely to be white. They also moved on to jobs with better wages, benefits, hours, and career-advancement opportunities.

The researchers argue that home care jobs need to be improved in order to retain these high-quality workers.

The study can be found in Home Health Care Services Quarterly  Vol 33. No. 3 or download the full text here: offers affordable, complete, convenient online caregiver education, testing and certification.

Student who complete the entire CertifiedCare caregiver program series can become CertifiedCare certified Senior Care Auditors


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3 Responses to Study: What type of home care worker leaves for greener pastures

  1. sarah irwin says:

    I have been a professional round-the-clock caregiver (average 4 days a week) for over a dozen years now in a total of 4 households. In three of these situations, another round-the-clock caregiver and/or family member(s) filled in the balance of the week. In my current situation, agency caregivers cover the other three days on a shift basis.

    I have two very strong opinions about why there is a retention problem among caregivers, especially those who work for agencies:

    1. A living wage — As a private-duty caregiver, I am fairly compensated for my skilled work, and yet my hourly fee is less than what the agencies charge. Unfortunately, their staff members — the folks who actually give the care — are NOT the ones to benefit from these higher fees. In fact, most do not earn a living wage which ultimately is at the root of many retention problems.

    2. Job satisfaction — As a round-the-clock caregiver, I get to know my clients very well. There is a great deal of satisfaction in meeting their every need and keeping them as happy and comfortable as possible, given their circumstances. In every case except my current position, I have been with my clients through their final days, and when they died. My relationships with each client and their families have been profoundly moving. I think that agency workers who come onto a shift for as few as 3 or 4 hours, then leave to go to another client, do not get to develop the relationships that make their jobs meaningful and satisfying. So many end up just putting in their time for a check, which is not that much of an incentive (see #1).

    I believe that retention issues would be greatly diminished if caregiving were fairly compensated AND if caregivers were afforded the opportunity to become more of a part of their client’s lives.


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