Are staff shortages hitting your LTC service hard right now? You’re not the only one.
At the end of 2021, an Ontario organization said its home care providers were only meeting 56% of care requests (it was 95% before the pandemic); and in 2022 nearly 300 nursing home beds in New Brunswick stayed empty because there weren’t enough employees to fill nearly 400 open jobs.
Vulnerable people aren’t getting the care they need because people are leaving the industry fast - and agencies are taking advantage more than helping. (Case in point: an Ontario non-profit LTC group reportedly spent more than $3 million on agencies this last financial year, compared to $150,000 the year before Covid.)
Here are five reasons why your staffing agency isn’t helping your long term care service - and one (much better) alternative to using them.
1. Cost: your agency takes a huge chunk
This is the big one. Want to spend more on stuff that helps your service get even better, and grow? Stuff like staff training, or new medical equipment, or activities for residents, or employee benefits?
In a world where agencies are charging 249% more than the typical rate for a nurse, this isn’t happening.
Instead, more of your budget is going on whatever agencies can get away with asking for, because you’re desperate for staff.
It’s deeply unfair, and does nothing to benefit your service in the long term.
2. No transparency: your agency takes advantage of everyone
High agency fees don’t mean nurses, PSWs and other care staff working through them are also getting paid well.
Care professionals only get a percentage of the total fee agencies ask for. A lot of the time, this will be dramatically less than what the agency takes.
Agencies will make sure the split is most profitable for them - and both you and the care worker will be in the dark about how much they’re taking.
Nobody wins except the agency - care professionals get less pay than they’re worth, and care services pay far more than they should.
3. Staff quality: your agency doesn’t care
Your agency’s job is to fill the gaps in your schedule that you can’t.
Not to find the very best person for the job, and not to find someone who will follow your high standards.
No, your agency’s number one goal is to put anyone they have available into the shift. Everything else comes second.
That’s how you end up being technically fully staffed, but still see the same issues that come from shortages: people making mistakes, treatments delayed, patient satisfaction lowered, and less coordination between staff - which leads us to our next point…
4. Continuity: your agency still doesn’t care
As your agency will fill shifts with whoever’s available, you can’t guarantee you’ll see the same nurse or PSW twice.
You might be told a person you know is coming, only to have a different person show up in their place.
You’re never in control.
A revolving door of one-off staff causes issues like:
- Missed or incomplete patient care information
- Standard processes like handovers not followed
- Time spent on repeated inductions for new staff
- Lower motivation for temp staff to do their best work
But none of this is your agency’s problem. So they’ll continue to send you whoever they choose.
5. Speed: your agency can’t fill shifts instantly
How long does your agency take to fill a shift?
If the answer is anything more than “30 seconds”; they’re lagging way behind your needs.
Calling your agency, waiting for them to call back, then re-doing your schedule if they confirm they can fill your shift, is a painful back-and-forth that should be extinct by now.
But it’s how most people get their staffing done.
Why? Because agencies haven’t bothered to do better. They’re happy to charge you more than ever for a dated service that wastes your time.
Technology can fill most shifts in seconds, rather than days - but you wouldn’t know that from working with your agency.
What’s the alternative?
Get a partner whose goals are your goals: to staff your service with the right people, without any hassle or extra cost to you.
Your agency can’t do this. But Florence does.
Our app fills shifts in seconds with your permanent team first. Florence nurses and PSWs cover any gaps left. And it happens automatically, while you get on with your million other jobs.
Here’s how Florence compares to agencies:
- Save up to 30% of your agency spend, as you avoid agencies by filling shifts with your permanent team.
- Set your own rates paid to Florence staff.
- A fixed, agreed commission to Florence - no changes.
- No hidden costs, no cancellation or last-minute fees.
- Your permanent team maximizes their hours; a win for consistent care.
- Florence professionals are fully background checked, have verified skills and a public rating viewable before you accept to your shift.
Continuity of care
- Your permanent team works together more often.
- Invite Florence professionals back, again and again, so the same people work together with your team.
- Fill shifts in 30 seconds in a few button-taps with Auto-Fill - no more chasing calls, texts or emailing, staff accept SMS shift invites at the touch of a button.
Our staffing crisis can be fixed - but agencies are only a Band-Aid.
Get a partner who helps you to deliver the best care, for the long term. Try Florence.
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