5 Strategies to Address Caregivers’ Emotional Needs
At Direct Care Innovations, our clients either employ direct caregivers or interface with organizations that do. We know the COVID-19 pandemic is especially hard on healthcare workers and direct care professionals in all 50 states. Leaders at these organizations are striving to address caregivers’ emotional needs and to provide extra support during this challenging time. If you are one of these leaders, here are five ways you can support and encourage your team as they continue to pour themselves into those they serve every day.
1. Offer Time-Outs and Time Away
Leaders keep their fingers on the pulse of their staff by checking in with them frequently. When you know your direct care team, you are attuned and can address caregivers’ emotional needs. Ask them how they’re doing and allow them to vent. Encourage small breaks throughout the day where employees can take a few breaths and decompress. A quick break, some stretching exercises, or even a laugh about something unrelated to work is sometimes all it takes to refocus.
2. Deliver Sincere Encouragement
Some people are motivated by words of affirmation. While everyone benefits from encouragement, people who possess this love language thrive on hearing positive words about who they are and how they are doing. What’s so amazing about this approach is that it is free and easy. The only thing it requires is your attentiveness, observation, and delivering sincere feedback – because people see through the fluff.
3. Provide Access to Mental Health Services
It is an irony of the field that caregivers don’t often pursue self-care and mental health. Thus, it is important for employers to offer and promote mental health services. Employee Assistance Programs generally include a mental health provision, but get creative and offer alternatives, too. For instance, launch a pilot program offering a mental health professional available certain days of the week at the company’s expense. Find out what your team needs and develop solutions to meet their needs.
4. Incorporate Wellness into Benefits
In addition to mental health services and breaks, direct caregivers can participate in activities that promote mindfulness and wellness. Give out 30-minute massage certificates to your team semi-annually, pay a portion of health club membership (even if it’s online), or start a virtual yoga class. The options are only as limited as your imagination. Okay, your budget plays a role, too, but this should be considered an investment that delivers a return.
5. Facilitate Staff Support and Learning Sessions
Encourage your staff to come together for groups that meet their specific needs. Schedule a support group for caregivers to discuss client challenges, relieve stress, and support one another. Offer a lunch-and-learn, and have a mental health professional speak on topics like grief, anxiety, and regulation techniques, or forget all that and instead play a fun team-building game. Group sessions allow leaders to address caregivers’ emotional needs in both intentional and fun ways.
At DCI, we care deeply about the direct care industry and those who work within it. We serve clients in all 50 states, so contact us at (480) 295-3307 to find out how we can make your work easier with our EVV solutions and business management software.