(ALBANY, NY – May 27, 2020) Community Healthcare Services Foundation (CHC), an affiliate of the New York State Association of Health Care Providers, has partnered with the Iroquois Healthcare Association Workforce Investment Organization (IHA WIO) to develop Creating a Legacy of Care, a peer-to-peer mentorship program for home care workers in New York State.
The program, which will be implemented in separate pilots in both New York City and upstate New York, is designed to create a stronger connection and sense of belonging for home care workers who, by the very nature of the work they do, often feel isolated and disconnected from colleagues.
The program connects newly hired caregivers to their more seasoned peers who will provide guidance and support during the first 90 days of employment – the most critical time period for a new hire.
“CHC is proud to provide a program that is needed now more than ever. Mentoring has a tremendous impact on both the mentor and the mentee, but most importantly it impacts the patients they care for. This program will have a multifaceted effect on the lives and careers of caregivers and will create a legacy of care for all those they care for throughout their careers,” said CHC President & CEO Kathy Febraio.
Home care encompasses a wide array of both health and supportive services. Clients cross the spectrum of care—from seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living; to postsurgical patients needing assistance; to the chronically ill or those with developmental disabilities whose health is maintained with skilled supervision, support services, home modification and equipment. Home care also prevents emergency or urgent care events and/or hospital readmissions, reduces the number of days spent in a hospital, and prevents or delays institutionalization in a nursing home or other congregate care facility.
However, recruiting and retaining a qualified workforce is one of the biggest challenges in the home care sector. With the combination of an aging population and the high turnover in home care workers, the New York State Department of Labor is projecting the demand for home health aides to grow by more than 50% by 2025.
The Creating a Legacy of Care mentorship program focuses on job satisfaction, creating job growth opportunities, increasing the retention rate of direct caregivers working in the home, and offers a new tool to home care providers to recruit caregivers.
Gary Fitzgerald, President & CEO of IHA WIO said, “This pilot program aligns with the mission of IHA WIO to train, retain and recruit healthcare workers in long term care organizations throughout New York State. Improvements in the retention of home health aides is critical in the current COVID-19 environment as these individuals are on the front lines caring for at risk patients and can help to reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits, as well as ease the transition to home post hospital discharge.”
Mentors will be experienced caregivers that will be specially trained to provide new hires with the skills to improve a caregiver’s proficiency, provide a sense of collegiality, belonging and connectedness, boost confidence and accountability, and ultimately create a positive, team-centered culture. CHC and IHA will conduct an on-going evaluation of the pilot program over the next 9-12 months to measure effectiveness and determine replicability to other home care organizations in the State.