This is something very close to my heart as I have spent a large part of my previous working life in and around care homes providing training for the staff, and in some cases providing free training for those who wanted to go further with the training, but who could not afford it as I wanted to give something back and still do. I can honestly say that I did not find a bad home infact just the opposite….what I did find however was overworked, under paid staff who are expected to care for a person with different illnesses and mobilities for as little as the minimum wage.
This is not a care home bashing piece as I have nothing but admiration for those people who chose to work with the elderly as it is a difficult job and one where you must have compassion and a calling.
What my article wants to highlight is the expectations of the role against the poor pay that goes with it.
We know that some care homes can charge a considerable of money per week as was shown to me by a friend whose parent passed away and had to sell their parents home to pay a £45 bill for 2 years care, and yet they only pay their staff the minimum wage.
We know that some care homes are expanding at a fast rate due to the profits and I know that wages have to be paid and pay for the upkeep of the homes, but is it such a tiny margin that companies who own a number of houses cannot afford to pay above the living wage?
As I commented at the beginning I have worked in homes where the staff were some of the loveliest people I have ever met, and the caring and love they feel for the residents show through at every level, but caring does not pay the bills and more often than not they are having to leave their posts because they cannot afford to live on it once tax and NI has been taken, or they have to work unrealistic overtime hours just to make ends meet.
Would it not be worth making the extra effort to have smaller profit turnovers and retain loyal staff as there would be savings in the long run from not having to advertise roles constantly due to a high turnover. There would also be a reduction in training costs as well as the homes being able to publicise that they have happy staff and a low turnover, as would you want to put your beloved mum or dad in a care home where the staff turnover is over 30% and above as in some cases….and worst of all it can be unsettling, un-nerving and frightening for the elderly as they need to know that everything around them is stable and that includes staff.
Look at your staff….do you value them? Do they do a good job? Are they caring, helpful, on time and reliable? If so ….cut the profits and invest in your staff as it will result in a more positive view for your company and you will never be empty.