Showing Our Caregivers Some Love

Today we celebrate love, and on Friday, we celebrate National Caregivers Day. The fact that these two holidays fall within the same week seems like an excellent reminder for us to show caregivers in our lives some love. But how?

At Loretto, no one understands the needs of our frontline caregivers better than Michelle, our employee coach. Her role is different from a traditional management coach because her primary focus is to work with new hires to help them smoothly transition into their new roles and guide them through challenges as new employees in the long-term care sector.

Michelle connects with employees and builds a relationship with them from their first day so that when/if a challenge arises, they know who to turn to get the support they need. She helps remove obstacles to help employees continue to work and be successful in their role.

Beginning a career as a frontline caregiver can be a challenging adjustment in “normal times,” but it’s been especially difficult to start during a pandemic. Michelle engages and interacts with more than 1,000 employees in an average year – more than 60% of whom are starting positions as frontline caregivers. It’s no surprise that she’s reporting increases in burnout, anxiety, depression, childcare stress, and more.

We’re able to show some love to employees through Michelle’s role. We ensure she has the resources she needs to help them properly manage workload and stress; find childcare, reliable transportation, free legal services; secure funding for a car to travel to and from work, arrange for furniture delivery, and more.

Some of the things on this list may seem personal – what does furniture delivery have to do with an employee’s role at Loretto? In addition to being a caregiver at work, many of our employees are also caregivers at home. That role has also been challenging to fulfill during a pandemic. Work-life balance has become increasingly challenging to manage. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe we can – or should – try to leave our personal lives at the door when we come to work (more about that in a blog post here). As a result, our focus at Loretto is on the whole person – personal and professional – and what we can do to help reduce the stressors in their lives. At the end of the day, that results in happier, healthier employees.

What about those of us who aren’t in a position to hire an employee coach, or change our organization’s outlook on work-life balance? Michelle reports that out of everything she offers employees, one request remains in highest demand – being able to talk to someone who will listen.

That’s something we can all offer to the caregivers in our lives – whether they’re on the frontline at work or home.