There are many types of caregiver cooperatives that provide home care. Home Care refers to non-medical services such as cleaning, bathing, companionship, cooking, and other duties. Pretty straightforward, right? So what makes a worker-owned cooperative different?
A home care cooperative is often just like any old home care agency, except for a few key points: the workers own and operate the business, get a vote in all business related decisions, and even earn a share of the profits of the business!
Caregivers elect from among themselves a group of caregivers to sit on the cooperative’s board of directors and set policy for the agency. The caregivers then implement those policies.
This provides clients with a direct line of communication with the owners of the agency.
Caregivers benefit by having control over their workplace that includes better wages and working conditions (including the ability to provide the services that their clients want). Clients benefit by having someone with true ownership of their job providing care.
This has shown to be valuable to those receiving care from these cooperatives in a few key ways, primarily in higher wages for the caregivers and lower turnover for our clients. One of the biggest challenges for the people that we serve is high caregiver turnover- it is a frustrating and difficult experience to train a new caregiver when your first caregiver that you just got used to quits or leaves, and then doing it over and over again can be exhausting. The home care industry turnover rate is eighty-two percent, while the home care COOPERATIVE industry turnover rate is thirty percent at highest. This means that in a home care cooperative our client are more than TWICE as likely to keep their initial preferred caregiver, which to many people can be invaluable.
Additionally, our clients have a direct ear with owners of the business. When our clients voice concern or feedback on their experience of the business, that feedback can have an immediate impact on how we as caregivers continue to run our cooperatives and grow. Our clients make up a lot of the culture and heart of our cooperatives in the same way as the caregivers.