My father vowed that he and his sister would never subject my grandmother to the confines of a senior facility. We would care for her at home till her last day. But sometimes circumstances break the promises we intend to keep.
As my grandmother’s health declined, we were no longer able to provide for her properly. And in-home care equipment and staff for the round-the-clock support she required were well beyond anyone’s financial capability. With broken hearts full of worry and sorrow, we decided to relinquish her to a senior healthcare facility.
Many people face this heart-wrenching decision. And their thoughts, too, are nagged with concern that their elder loved one won’t receive quality care.
Sadly, this unease isn’t unfounded. Senior care facilities find themselves amidst staffing challenges that hinder the quality of patient care, among other affected areas.
A Dallas-based home healthcare technology solutions provider Axxess, surveyed 570 homecare health facilities and discovered that staffing challenges are impeding business growth (95 percent), patient care (88 percent), and compliance (75 percent). 1
Several senior care C-suite personnel backed up these findings:
Brandywine Living President and CEO, Brenda Bacon said, “…labor availability and cost are on a runaway train that we are all chasing. Our challenge is and will be to attract and retain the best talent.” 2
Brookdale Senior Living CEO, Cindy Baier stated, “We expect the labor market will continue to be quite competitive, so senior living companies will have to maintain a meaningful focus on attracting, engaging, developing, and retaining key talent.” 2
Sunrise Senior Living CEO, Chris Winkle stated, that “…focus will remain on the team member experience, as demand for a skilled, talented and dedicated workforce continues to grow.”2
Eclipse Senior Living CEO, Kai Hsiao said, “…until we wake up and start to truly expand the labor pool, we’ll see the same faces in different places and wonder why we still get the same results.”2
With this systemic staffing ailment spreading through the industry, decision-makers have begun looking at resolutions. Axxess’ homecare survey responders cited potential remedies to combat the workforce shortage: “better onboarding, continuing education, financial incentives, rewards programs, flexible schedules, and using technology to improve the scheduling process.” 1
Of course, many of these options come with a price tag, one often higher than a facility’s budget. And then there’s acquiring the employees in the first place.
WOTC to the Rescue
For aid in these endeavors, senior assisted living organizations can turn to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).
This federal incentive issues up to $9,600 in tax credits to an organization when it hires an employee from any one of 14 target groups. These groups consist of individuals who battle difficulties securing employment, such as veterans and the long-term unemployed.
The WOTC provides a double dose of value for assisted living’s fight against its staffing malady. First, it offers a return in revenue that can be leveraged to offset the costs of the solutions mentioned above – continued training, financial incentives, integrated technology, etc.
Secondly, the tax credit brings to light workforce groups the organizations may not have considered in the past.
The WOTC grants them access to a new pool from which to draw the necessary staff and a supplemental means to fund their training and retention.
Caring with Credit
Our society waxes romantic about our Golden Years. They’re to be a time filled with family, comfort, and compassionate care. Alas, those things sometimes cannot transpire in an elderly person’s home. Care facilities do recognize this and realize they harbor staffing challenges that impact quality care.
As they work on remedies, they can prescribe the WOTC to help. It’s not a comprehensive cure, but the incentive certainly presents considerable opportunity.
Senior care facilities that would like to learn more about the WOTC’s potential and how to begin hiring and saving today should contact a tax specialist.
- Addressing Home Health’s Greatest Challenge: Staffing, D CEO Healthcare, 2019
- Senior Living Executive Forecast: 2019 Business Trends, Challenges, Opportunities, Senior Housing News, 2019