You can’t fail to have heard about the current staffing crisis in care. In many ways, the past two or three years have been the perfect storm. At the start of this period, demand for care services was already significantly higher than the capacity available. Providers were already struggling to recruit staff.
Many care providers lost a significant number of European Care Workers who decided not to remain in the UK following Brexit. Meanwhile, the steady flow of European Care Workers coming to our shores seeking work had gradually dried up.
Covid-19 and the Staffing crisis in care
At the start of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit everyone like a sledgehammer compounding the Staffing crisis in care. Those Care Workers who bravely worked through the height of the pandemic were quite rightly celebrated as heroes. We stood outside our front doors each week to applaud their efforts, alongside that of the NHS and other key workers. For some, the risk of Covid in their personal situation was too great, and they decided to take a break from caring – many returned, but not all.
After nearly two years, for some the experience of Covid whilst working in care has been exhausting. Burn-out is reported as a reason for some leaving the sector. Whilst increased competition with other business sectors presents alternative options.
Last week, the Government announced that vaccination as a condition of deployment would apply to homecare from April 2022. Many providers fear losing more than 20% of the workforce as a result. For many domiciliary care providers, the situation is dire. Thankfully, at Gardiner’s, vaccine hesitancy has been exceptionally low and therefore the impact on our service will be minimal.
Accelerated growth in demand for homecare
During the pandemic, people’s attitudes towards choosing care in their own homes shifted dramatically. A Homecare Association survey revealed that 88% of those surveyed thought that people would prefer to be supported at home rather than in a care home. Undoubtedly, homecare was a far less risky option than care homes in respect of exposure to the virus, with 47% of the respondents citing this as a reason for choosing homecare. However, the top reasons for choosing homecare due to covid were; the effect on the ability to live the way that I want (64%); how much control I would have (54%) and the effect on the ability to maintain my relationship with family and friends (53%).
Demand for care at home has continued to rise. A Skills for Care report revealed that the number of domiciliary care jobs had increased by 22% over the previous decade, compared to just a 4% increase in residential services. A report from The Health Foundation has predicted that a 55% growth in care staff is needed over the next decade.
Staffing crisis in care – recruitment ‘the hardest it has ever been’
Unsurprisingly, the Homecare Association survey revealed that 95% of homecare providers were finding recruitment significantly harder than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 80% reported that recruitment was “the hardest it has ever been”. 65% of providers said that more careworkers were leaving their jobs than before the pandemic. Careworkers’ pay and employment terms were the most significant issue. Nearly 40% of providers said they were unable to take on new work, with some struggling to meet existing commitments.
So how are Gardiner’s fairing?
At Gardiner’s, we have been working hard to make sure that our recruitment pipeline is healthy and successfully tackling the staffing crisis in care
We have long taken the view that our pay and conditions need to fairly reward our fantastic team. Our charges have historically been higher than other providers. These higher rates of charging allow us to pay our care workers at higher, fairer rates. And also enable us to provide much valued ongoing support and quality training.
But it isn’t all about money.
Our team loves to help and support others. We recruit people who feel a calling to provide care.
As a provider, we help to support them to provide care in a way that they feel happy with. So no rushed 15-minute visits. Our staff visit the same clients regularly. The care duties booked are never shorter than 1 hour. This approach allows our team to build strong relationships with those they support and deliver person centred care.
The Gardiner’s office team has a wealth of experience and we always make ourselves available to support our team and our clients.