MINNEAPOLIS — Fairview Health Services is launching a service for employers to combat the burden a growing number of adults experience juggling the duties of caregiving with other obligations.
In January the Harvard Business School released a report entitled “The Caring Company,” calling on companies to recognize the impact caregiving is having on American workplaces. The report found that 73 percent of employees reported having some type of caregiving responsibility, and explains how these responsibilities ultimately cost employers in the form of absenteeism, presenteeism, and reduced productivity. Moreover, 1 in 3 employees admitted to voluntarily leaving a job because of caregiving responsibilities, creating costs for companies as they manage turnover, lose institutional knowledge, and train new employees.
In 2017, Fairview launched Caregiver Assurance, a consumer service focused on the needs of individuals caring for an aging loved one. Soon after, it began offering a six-month subscription to its own employees as a benefit. Now, Fairview is making the service available to other employers looking to provide resources for caregivers as part of their own benefits packages.
Caregiver Assurance gives members direct access to licensed social workers trained to advise and support adults navigating the responsibilities of caring for an aging loved one. These caregiver advisors take the guesswork out of things like financial planning, home safety and maintenance, and health care coordination. They provide counsel and manage research and logistics on the caregiver’s behalf to help relieve burdens caused by increasing or unfamiliar, tasking responsibilities.
“The responsibilities of caregiving can place mental, physical, social, and financial burdens on caregivers, which are too often overlooked as they focus on the needs of others,” says Rene’ Coult-Calendine, Vice President of Market and Product Development. “Caregiver Assurance helps caregivers through education, validation, support, and referrals.”
When caregivers have too many competing responsibilities, their struggles show up in the workplace in the form of stress, extended breaks to juggle phone calls and appointments, and unplanned absences.
Coult-Calendine says this is why a benefit focused on caregiving makes sense in today’s workplaces.
“Think about how a business operates: we want the person who is most qualified, with the right expertise, to be taking care of a job. With Caregiver Assurance for employers, caregiving advisors, who are licensed social workers, become an extension of an employer’s team, taking on some of the legwork and complexity of caregiving. This frees up employees’ time so they can focus on what they do best for their company.”
Caregiver Assurance advisors fulfill different needs for caregivers:
- Support: Caregivers need to focus on their own self-care, which is why Caregiver Assurance advisors offer emotional support, guidance on stress management, and advice on financial planning or family counseling services. Advisors are available during evening and weekend hours.
- Connect: Caregiver Assurance advisors can help caregivers connect to health care services as their senior’s health needs change, from home health care to assisted living to hospice care and more. Caregiver advisors are not part of a medical care team, but with their knowledge and experience, they can be valuable partners to caregivers as they navigate the health systems and prepare for conversations with their senior’s medical providers.
- Research: Caregiver Assurance advisors can research different options for various needs and services such as meal deliveries, snow removal, housekeeping, and more, helping make the decision process easier for the caregiver. Caregivers can always access the research and recommendations through a secure, online portal.
The AARP estimates that caregiving costs employers $28 billion annually in lost productivity (“Valuing the Invaluable”). Caregiver Assurance gives employers a tool to help prevent these costs from adding up in their own organization.
Caregiver Assurance is the latest offering from Fairview in its Employer Solutions portfolio, a suite of programs designed to meet workplace health needs and help employers manage costs. Fairview Employer Solutions’ other customizable offerings include on-site clinics, a virtual care platform, employee assistance and behavioral health programs, and comprehensive one-day executive physicals through University of Minnesota Health.
About Fairview Health Services
Fairview Health Services (fairview.org) is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit health system driven to heal, discover and educate for longer, healthier lives. Founded in 1906, Fairview provides exceptional care to patients and communities as one of the most comprehensive and geographically accessible systems in Minnesota. Through a close relationship with the University of Minnesota, Fairview offers access to breakthrough medical research and specialty expertise as part of a continuum of care that reaches all ages and health needs.