Melinda Reed writes about starting No Worries:
I had a dream 22 years ago to create my ideal work environment. My ideal work environment included treating caregivers wonderfully so they, in turn, would treat our clients wonderfully.
Together we have embraced that simple formula and together we have turned that dream into a reality. We have something so special here. We are like a close-knit family and we truly care for each other. Life is not always easy but together we can help each other and I think that is one thing that really sets us apart. Our longevity is a reflection that caregivers are happy here.
Sheryl, RN (right) congratulates caregiver Hilary on her retirement. Thank you Hilary for the 19.5 outstanding years of service!
It is not a traditional business model. I started with paid mandatory InServices and it didn’t work. When no one came I ditched the traditional and invited everyone over to my house for a meal, some education and recognition.
Guess what? Everyone came!
When we could no longer fit into my house we started having InServices at John’s Incredible Pizza Company. The InServices became paid and mandatory when caregiver education became a state requirement but because InServices are like a family reunion, everyone still comes! Plus we find hilarious ways to present education like our recent skit, “Who You Gonna Call?” with Jason Sanders, RN and Assistant Administrator as the “Ghostbuster!”
We are committed to protecting our caregivers. When I watched the news about Ebola and how there was confusion on how to use protective equipment I realized I needed to look into what training we might need. I found that we are required by OSHA to provide Ebola training. There is a lot of information about training for hospitals but I could not find Ebola training for the In-home Care setting. So I decided we would develop an Ebola training program for caregivers and would offer it to any organization who wanted it. We only had one and half weeks to put this program together before our regularly scheduled InServices. We worked long hours, but we did it.
Thursday night we had 60 of our Caregivers practicing with gowns, masks, and gloves. I was standing taking pictures with my phone and had a moment when everyone started to put on their gowns and arms were raised and light flickering off the gowns and it was just a magical moment. Perhaps I was feeling the emotion of working with so many of these Caregivers for years. I want them to be protected. Do I think Ebola will come to Portland? I don’t know but I do know that these principles apply to a strong Blood Borne Pathogens and Infection Control Programs. It was interesting to look through the photos and see Caregivers helping each other out getting their gowns on. We had not included the “buddy system” in our training be- cause we provide care in the home and don’t have more than one Caregiver in the home at a time. Helping each other out comes naturally. What a privilege it is to work with people like this.”
Treating caregivers wonderfully includes finding out what is important to them and working hard to be as efficient as possible with overhead so that those things can be provided. Focus groups the last couple of years have been very appreciated by caregivers who appreciate being part of the process. A repeated comment was, “I’ve never had a company ask me what I needed or thought. I like being involved.” Caregivers came in after night shifts. One caregiver drove almost an hour to attend. After every focus group I had a feeling of gratitude to be working with such wonderful people. Caregiving at No Worries is advanced not just because of outstanding skills but because of the professional caregivers we attract. Our caregivers discussed the issues and voted on what was most important to them.
We started out with providing 2 weeks of Paid Time Off that could be used for sick leave, vacation, or could be cashed out if needed.
I believe people who are healthy should have access to paid time off just like those who become ill! This last flu season,I am happy to report that none of our clients became ill. I believe this is a result of our Caregivers staying home when they became sick knowing they would still be paid. Next, we raised our rates and increased what we paid our Caregivers. With the increase in minimum wage the resounding feeling in all focus groups is that they should be paid much more than minimum wage. They are experienced. They are providing health care and in order to keep qualified Caregivers in this industry they want wages that are respectful of their skills.
On April 23, 2018 No Worries began paying a “Living Wage” of $15/hour.
Feeling supported is another key to Caregiver satisfaction. I do not believe in voicemails or answering services. When you call, you get a person. After hours we have either the Scheduling Manager or Office Manager answering our main line. For any Nursing calls we have an after hours number to call (503-672-8712) and our on-call nurse will answer. When we updated our phone system, I noticed we received over 1,500 calls in the two months. Our Caregivers communicate with us and that leads to outstanding service to our Clients.
We celebrated our 22nd anniversary with a perfect State Licensure Survey.