While some in-home care agencies have refined their interviewing processes to find new caregivers, one Middletown, New York-based agency is looking internally, and receiving support from the state to combat the industry’s ever-persistent recruiting and retention issues.
Braemar at Wallkill, a 200-bed assisted living residence community, is utilizing a new Training Program within the community’s licensed home health care agency, Hudson Valley Home Care. The program, called the Home Health Aide Training Program, offers current staff a chance to earn their home health aide certification from the New York Department of Health.
For Maryann Crenny, director of operations at FilBen Group—Braemar’s parent company—the program is a chance to provide non-clinical staff longevity in their career with the company.
“This [was a] way we could take an existing staff … that we recognized were standout employees and offer them a training program where they could actually get a certification, and it would help with staff retention,” Crenny told Home Health Care News.
In developing the training program, Braemar submitted an application to the New York State Department of Health in fall 2016.
The process was extensive, involving the submission of a course outline and related materials, according to Crenny. The program received approval by the Department of Health in late 2016 and has ultimately provided a true value for the community.
“For the state to recognize us [and] to allow us to provide the training program really is a plus for us,” Crenny said. “They know the kind of care that we require. Because we are licensed by them, we’re subject to their survey process, and we are in good standing with that.”
A vetting process
The training is provided free of charge to the community’s staff members, including dietary, housekeeping and laundry staff, among other members. For members of the community at large, Braemar charges $100 for the certification course.
The 75-hour long course is administered by Maureen Walsh, RN, and administrator at the Braemar at Wallkill. Classes are taught on premises over a span of three weeks, Crenny explained. Students spend a total of 59 hours in the classroom setting, while the remainder is devoted to hands-on, practical training.
The course runs through common caregiving practices, including how to assist clients with bathing, dressing, and even how to take and read their blood pressure.
Despite being an intensive, three-week course, Crenny believes the duration of the program enables students to find full- or part-time employment in a short time frame.
“The advantage to that is, if somebody has other commitments, you know you’re only doing it for a three-week period,” Crenny said. “At the end, waiting for a job for only three weeks is great.”
Upon completion of the program, graduates are offered a job with Braemar’s home health care agency on the discretion of management. And because the teaching and training is done on site, the educational process becomes a vetting tool of sorts for the company, according to Crenny.
“We’re able to see how they actually are providing the care, how they’re respectful to our residents,” she said. “You’re looking for somebody that is kind and compassionate, and that’s the benefit of having the training program right on site.”
Braemar has conducted three class sessions since its the program’s inception in January; a fourth class is currently underway. Since then, the community has hired six employees to its home health care agency.
Overall, the offering affords staff growth and mobility, even beyond their tenure at Braemar, according to Crenny.
“It enhances their education; it’s something that they will always have as long as they continue with their in-service training or an employment at a home care or assisted living facility,” she said.
Written by Carlo Calma