Coping with Caregiver Burnout: A Detroit Story

A loved one who needs special attention all hours of the day requires an individual that is willing to be patient, understanding and have compassion towards their situation. People who fill these positions are called caregivers, and they are one of the most important people who assist in at home elderly patients. Being a caregiver is a full time job that requires hours of free time, and often leaves the caregiver tired. As the stresses of everyday life increase, sleep becomes harder to come by, and the caregiver becomes fatigued. In most cases, the fatigue can get so bad that it leads to caregiver burnout. This fatigue often extends past the caregiver, and can put stress on those living in the same space, negatively impacting their day to day lives.

How does one cope with the burdens of being a caregiver? Well, according to Sharon Roth Maguire, the chief clinical officer at home care agency, BrightStar Care, “Being a caregiver is taxing, so make sure you rely on friends, family or even services like adult day care to give yourself a break.” In any scenario, the first step is realizing you are experiencing caregiver burnout, and then finding help. Talk to a clinician, or other trained therapeutic professional to see what steps might best benefit you.

Unfortunately, caregiver burnout is not only restricted to close friends and loved ones.Given low wages, registered caregivers are often forced to take on a second job to help make ends meet. This often causes time conflicts, but more importantly, it cuts down on the caregiver's personal time. These problems are all tackled by the arising “on-demand home healthcare” CarePRN. CarePRN provides a higher than average wage to our registered caregivers, and allowing them to choose their hours of availability. The services provided are flexible to the patient and can go for as short or long time duration, it is all worked out with the patient and caregiver. How about that? A service that not only works with people who desperately need attention, but also provides a benefit to hard working certified healthcare employees.

Over the years metro-Detroit has struggled with the symptoms surrounding caregiver burnout. To cope with this, there are various organizations that help alleviate symptoms of caregiver burnout. The Detroit Area Agency on Aging works to serve the elderly population of Detroit, which is approximately 60,000 people. According to their website, the DAA’s services include community access, wellness services, and nutrition services feeding about 6,000 adults daily through the Detroit Meals on Wheels program, to name a few. The DAA is a great service for those looking for help with gathering food for their family or themselves. However, for the full package of services CarePRN is the key operation in Michigan today that should be recognized. CarePRN provides families basic care, and prioritizes family caregivers. It is designed to increase availability of care services, particularly for minorities, low-income families, persons over 60 and those with disabilities.

While Detroit has exceptional organizations that target caregiver burnout, CarePRN would help to address and vanquish the issue within the Detroit area. It would further distribute the work among organizations in order to efficiently and effectively target the issue. This is the problem that CarePRN hopes to address. We hope to lead a social change in the way we deal with caregiving by changing the way we think about it. With the number of elderly rising, and the cost of living going up, we hope to revolutionize the home health care industry, starting with our own local communities. Having someone dependent on you can be a burden, but should not jeopardize your career or your relationships.

Better Caregiving in the Gig Economy?

What is Caretaking in the Gig Economy?

A lot of smart people are thinking seriously about how the definition of “work” will change in the future. a new economy is emerging, and it goes by many names: the gig economy, the sharing economy, the freelancer economy, or the on-demand platform economy.  35% of the U.S. workforce is already doing some form of this work; that’s 55 million or so people, making a total of 1.3 million new ‘gig workers’ last year.

You may have already participated in this economy by using eBay or Uber. It is changing our culture, and has had obvious success so far as people are finding more affordable and convenient services, and those doing the service gain fulfilling forms of "flexible" work.  While there is such thing as “good flexibility,” there is of course such thing as “bad flexibility”, which according to the Sloan Center for Aging of work, can drive down wages and quality of work. The media is full of stories about workers in the sharing economy who are victim to changing pay rates or “flexibility” entirely tied unpredictable demand.  Richard Adams, a Detroit Uber driver, lives under the threat of a company that suddenly cut fare rates were cut by 30%, and wishes that the drivers could actually depend less on Uber, and more so on themselves.2

The gig economy is not just comprised of Uber.  Platforms like Uber allow us to quickly form workers and groups of customers – but the technology does not determine the way these people work together, the people do.  The doctors, nurses, business leaders and professors working on CarePRN are trying to bring a model of working that is unique and allows there to be flexibility and job creation in the healthcare market,  by allowing caretakers to book a ‘gig’ , and have caregivers work as many gigs as possible to make a living.

This also applies to health care services like care.com. According to Hinchliffe, “Caregivers constitute one of the largest segments of the gig economy and the fastest growing large job category in our country,” 4. This economy allows users to either “self-employ” or “sell their goods/services just to make money,” 3.The big benefit is being able to choose their own work hours depending on when they are available.

Government, lawyers, and labor groups have been trying to find ways to make the gig economy more fair. They emphasize the rise of on-demand services and apps and say they should raise the wage earned by people providing the service.

The gig economy is still under development, but that does not mean people are working on improving it. According to Taylor, a study showed that online labor platforms increased during 2016 by 103% however this rate leveled off because 1 and 6 participants quit trying to make money through online labor within a year or so1. According to Dodds, the EU has made laws for these platforms to say that the users are actual employees and should be treated fairly like any other employee of a company3. Whether or not anything like this is in the works here, there are some good examples of on-demand services by companies that do seem to be promoting better forms of "flexible" work. Most of these shared economy employees are usually people who do not have a full-time job anymore. In other words, they may have lost their jobs during the recession time. The jobs in the sharing economy do help these people in making a good profit of money, but also working on their own time. This flexibility can help them make time for their family or even go back to school for another degree. What I have just mentioned is called a “good flexibility,” but there is also such thing as a “bad flexibility.” According to Workplace Flexibility, the bad flexibility affects the employer by deciding if the “costs or inconveniences associated with implementing flexible work arrangements that outweigh the benefits.” This website also mentions that “employees perceive that taking advantage of available flexible work options may have negative consequences in terms of their position within the organization,” 5. Not only is flexibility and job creation a huge benefit, but also building a stronger community through these employees and employers.

With all these companies in this type of economy, most entrepreneurs look for ways to help with the community they are living in. Some of these companies help to improve home-care for others. We at CarePRN are tuned in to the challenges for caregiving, and health care more generally, in the gig economy, and strive to make it a caring economy.

How is CarePRN is Affordable for care-seekers?

Unlike many other home-care services, CarePRN can help you with the financial aspect of hiring help. There are no long term contracts, and you pay by the hour as you need it. Having no-contracts is cost effective because of the amount of money you need to spend per hour. CarePRN is a company that will not only benefit consumers but also the workforce. With no contract, you also receive professional care within minutes in the Metro-Detroit area. Also the flexibility for care seekers can involve a traditional schedule or on-demand appointment.

How exactly can you be sure that that CarePRN is more affordable and worth your money? Well there is research that shows all of the existing home-care services and a comparison of what each company does/does not have. In a nutshell, the research showed that other health care services did not provide an option for no contracts and on-demand care. This research was conducted by Jason Wolfe-Greer, RN, the founder of CarePRN. Such competitors are care.com, craigslist, traditional home healthcare, and other key players in the health care sharing economy.

CarePRN’s mission: Flexible and Fair

CarePRN has its roots in Detroit, and is proud to serve the people of the Metro-Detroit area. CarePRN has improved other gig economy  models of caregiving. Homehero may have certified nurses and background checks, but what they do not have are the on-demand care and the no-contract caregiving services. These features are key because having on-demand care is a necessity. CarePRN allows you to make an on-call without pre-scheduling for the following week because you do not know exactly when you will feel the caregiver burnout. Taking care of a loved one for a long time can burn you out, and you will need someone to step in for a while.

Nurses, nursing assistants, and nursing students will earn more through CarePRN. Nursing assistants earn on average $9-$13 per hour. CarePRN will be paying them $15 per hour. CarePRN will be making only $10 out of the $25 hourly fee. These care providers will benefit from better pay and their ability to better schedule and work contingent hours in a local area. We expect that CarePRN will allow care providers to supplement their regular work hours by working in the best model of the sharing economy we could create.

 

1 H. (2016). The number of workers joining the gig economy has slowed dramatically, study says. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/15/the-number-of-workers-joining-the-gig-economy-has-slowed-dramatically-says-study.html

2Van Grove, J. (2016, March 9). Is the Jig Up on the Gig Economy? Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://www.govtech.com/budget-finance/Is-the-Jig-Up-on-the-Gig-Economy.html

3Dodds, A. (2016, May 06). The 'Sharing Economy' Needs to Be a Caring Economy. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/anneliese-dodds/the-sharing-economy-_b_10278582.html

4Hinchliffe, E. (2016, September 14). Care.com introduces 'peer-to-peer benefits' for its gig economy workers. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://mashable.com/2016/09/14/care-peer-to-peer-benefits/#

5 Workplace Flexibility. (n.d.). BARRIERS TO WORKPLACE FLEXIBILITY(WF). Retrieved November 30, 2016, from http://workplaceflexibility.bc.edu/Barriers