The social care sector faces a pressing challenge with staff retention and well-being. The CQC Adult Social Care Workforce Survey from January 2023 disclosed that 28% of homecare providers identified staff burnout as a major factor in staff turnover. This finding underscores the urgent need for effective solutions to enhance the well-being and job satisfaction of care workers.
A significant concern for the sector is the mental health of care workers. According to the Office of National Statistics, as of the start of 2021, 26% of care workers were likely battling depression, and 27% were potentially suffering from an anxiety disorder. These alarming statistics signal a crucial need for proactive interventions.
In response to these challenges, Abbots Care, a leading care provider with an outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), introduced an innovative well-being app. Launched in 2021, this app represents a pioneering step in addressing the critical issues of staff retention and well-being in the care sector.
Since the app’s introduction, Abbots Care has observed a notable improvement in staff retention, with a 20.7% increase overall and a 10% year-on-year rise. This app has proven effective in enhancing the mental and emotional well-being of Abbots Care’s workforce.
Features of the app include:
- Well-being check-ins. The app empowers care staff to routinely check in and articulate their feelings, thinking about both their professional and personal lives. This feature gives Abbots Care insights into the collective emotional health of our team, enabling targeted support where needed.
- Fostering community support. Independence in care roles is enriched by the app’s feature that enables staff to praise and support their peers. This cultivates a collaborative and positive atmosphere, bridging gaps and nurturing a unified, supportive community within our team.
- Earn and appreciate rewards. Our staff are incentivised to focus on their well-being through a rewarding system integrated into the app. Regular engagement on the app and participation in well-being-enhancing activities yield rewards, promoting sustained healthy habits.
- Mental health guidance. The app also offers actionable advice and strategies for optimal mental health. Care staff have at their fingertips resources on stress management, sleep improvement, and self-care.
- Sharing service user feedback. The app allows care staff to share feedback from service users, showcasing direct insights into the positive impacts of their dedicated service. This feature not only uplifts morale but also helps the team understand the impact they are having on service users.
Charlotte, a care worker at Abbots Care, praised the app, highlighting its positive impact on morale and its role as a valuable tool for personal and professional support. “The well-being app is a great asset to Abbots Care. I’m able to see amazing feedback about the good things going on with other staff and shout out to my colleagues when they’ve done something amazing. It’s boosted morale amongst us knowing that there is a tool that’s not only for work but helpful for thoughts and feelings from our personal lives too. I cannot wait to see the future of this app and to see the positive effects it has on our care workers.”
Skills for Care, a leading workforce development organisation for adult social care, has estimated that recruiting and training a replacement care worker can cost up to £3,600. Such high turnover not only has financial implications but also has an “emotional impact” on care users and can “reduce the quality of care they receive”.
Since the launch of Abbots Care’s well-being app in 2021, the company has seen an impressive 10% year-on-year increase in staff retention rates. This success has underscored the effectiveness of the app in enhancing the overall well-being of their employees and ensuring the continuity of high-quality care services.
Abbots Care remains committed to its mission of providing exceptional care services while prioritising the welfare of its workforce. The development and implementation of their innovative well-being app stand as a testament to their dedication to improving the lives of both their employees and the individuals they care for. We encourage other care providers to consider similar approaches. Enhanced carer support leads to better patient care and a stronger industry overall. Together, we can ensure every carer is supported and every patient receives exceptional care.
Camille Leavold, managing director and co-founder of Abbots Care, said: “We started Abbots Care back in 1995, working as care workers ourselves, so we really understand what it is like to work supporting vulnerable people and just how lonely and isolating it can be at times.
“Retaining and appreciating our workforce is something really close to my heart, and since its launch, our app has made a huge impact not only in the way our people and company communicate but also in our culture and team motivation as a whole.”