With low unemployment levels in the Hoosier state, operators of skilled nursing, assisted living, and other long term/post-acute care (LT/PAC) centers in Indiana have been encountering stiff competition in their effort to attract people to fill frontline caregiving roles.
So, after brainstorming what they might do to help their members recruit staff, the Indiana Health Care Association (IHCA) in January 2017 launched Carefortheaging.org, a multidimensional website that aims to welcome new people into the profession.
The website is designed to help students and career changers explore opportunities within the profession, dispel myths about working in LT/PAC, and give prospective health care professionals a glimpse of the responsibilities of specific jobs. It offers insight into the skills, education, and credentials these roles require as well outlines a career path a person can follow.
It’s also designed to give LT/PAC operators in Indiana strong leads for potential recruits to their caregiving teams.

Site Brings Visitors into LTC Center

“Workforce issues have been a concern that our board has voiced for a good while now, and about a year ago my team and I put together a task force to tease out some ideas of what we could do that provided value to our members. One of the ideas that came out of that was a website,” says Zach Cattell, president of IHCA, which represents about two-thirds of the skilled nursing centers in Indiana.

Upon logging onto the home page, visitors can navigate between sections that provide information on the various departments within an LT/PAC operation such as nursing care, administration, therapy and support, and the people needed to keep these areas running.

Each section also features short documentary-style videos where certified nurse assistants, rehabilitation therapists, social services directors, dietary managers, facility managers, and others working at Indiana centers share their experiences.

“Our members are featured, and we thought it was really important for users, especially in a millennial category, to [offer] videos [for individuals who] learn through hearing and seeing rather than reading and supplement the written material with easily digestible information,” Cattell says.

Kate VaulterThrough its text and multimedia content, IHCA also hopes to present a sense of the culture of caregiving within skilled nursing and assisted living environments, compared with those in other health care settings.

“There is a lot of movement and motion to show the vibrancy of these communities, the relationship between the staff and the residents, and the experience that you can’t really have in the hospital,” says Kate Vaulter, IHCA director of public affairs.

“The staff members [in the videos] talk about developing a relationship with the residents and the joy that comes with seeing them over an extended period of time and becoming part of their lives.”

Sample Career Path Outlined

The website also offers information about the career path an individual might follow and the compensation they can expect with each progressive role. For example, a certified nurse assistant in Indiana might start out at $23,000 a year.

With additional training, experience, and certification they might be promoted to a licensed professional nurse earning an average of $41,500 a year. From there, the health care professional might work toward becoming an assistant director of nursing, which earns an average salary of $63,000.

The website also gives visitors information on the specific credentials required in Indiana for each position. It provides links to training programs where visitors can get the education as well as the state agencies that administer the certification exams.

“We wanted to give objective information about salary expectation, education, certification—what your next step can be to link a career path together for someone who maybe doesn’t even know what long term care really is so they can see a sequential upward moving career ladder for themselves,” Cattell says.

Website visitors also can submit information about themselves, such as their interests, professional background, and educational level to receive more information about current opportunities in Indiana’s LT/PAC centers. Individuals who express an interest in more education and training also are put on a list to receive emails from the Indiana Health Care Foundation to learn about its scholarship programs.

“We collect that and push that out to our members and our education partners so they can follow up with them and get leads on hopefully a new bucket of people that they may not be reaching through their normal recruitment channels,” Cattell says.

A Profitable Move

A few weeks into the website’s launch, IHCA says it already is seeing a return on its investment.
“We’ve been really pleased and even pleasantly surprised at how well the site has done so far in terms of people actually making it all the way to that form and completing it and requesting more information in terms of education and training or volunteer and internship opportunities and job placement,” Vaulter says.

“More than half of the submissions that we’ve received so far have been for job placement, so that’s been really good and really exciting for us.”