There are approximately 1.3 million direct support professionals in the US (WSJ Jun 2020) many of whom work in the special needs community either in group homes or in people’s individual homes, not to speak of the many specialist therapists who also work in this sector. Despite this, families often say they really struggle to find the right providers. Why is this? At Supportal we wanted to examine the issue and see what can be done to help.
During the pandemic, DSPs have continued to provide care – often for people who cannot embrace the concept of social distancing. Clear evidence right there of the dedication that’s out there, but people leave the sector all the time. Staff retention is an issue. This can partly be attributed to historically low rates of pay at DSP level (especially in group settings), but also, we believe Special Needs Providers just aren’t championed in the same way as (for example) nurses or other health workers. Yet the work they are doing is so very needed.
The Right Provider at the right time
Often the retention issue comes about because people are not being helped to find the right care, so expectations on both sides are not met. Providers are often sent along to work with people whose needs they can’t adequately meet as they don’t have the training or experience. For example, if you need care for someone non-verbal or with particular behavioral needs, your DSP needs to be fully briefed and capable of handling those. That doesn’t always happen. You want a specialist attorney, you’d look on a specialist site? Yet this often isn’t the case when people are looking for special needs providers.
Person Centered Care Matters
When hiring staff for someone in your family, yourself or a client, it’s so important to understand that the recipient of that care is an individual with a personality and needs that are unique to them. If you’re a provider looking for work, you want to show yourself at your best, to work with people that you can really help and make a difference to. In order for this to happen, the right match needs to happen, and dialog needs to take place between the individual provider and the person hiring. It is exhausting for providers to apply endlessly for positions often not to even get a reply back. It is equally frustrating for people seeking care to find themselves either inundated by unsuitable candidates or with no one applying at all because they just didn’t look in the place you were advertising/posting.
Local and in your control
If you use a truly specialist site like Supportal.org, whether you’re a provider or you’re looking for care, you’re in control. As a provider, you create your profile highlighting the skills and experience you want people to find you by. As a care seeker, you are shown only the providers that match your needs that are available in your area. You can then reach out to the providers and if they like the sound of the position they can respond, and you discuss the details between you.
- This saves time
- It results in the right provider for the position
- It reduces frustration on both sides
- You’re in control
If you’d like to share your thoughts on this hot topic please send drop us an email to email@example.com