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BTG COVID-19 Ep. 4: Healthcare Hero Survey Results with Charles Turner

BTG COVID-19 Ep. 4:  Charles Turner, founder and CEO of KARE, shares healthcare hero survey results and the importance of communication.

This series is designed to provide resources, share the love stories and encourage those who are overseeing the care of aging adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe in you!

Lucas: Hey, welcome to Bridge the Gap podcast with Josh and Lucas on our special series on COVID-19. We’ve got Charles Turner. He is the CEO of Care on the program today with an amazing hat on his head. And we’re going to be talking about caregivers and some questions that are being asked right now to help elevate education and thought leadership on a platform where so many people are needing to have this conversation. Charles, thanks so much for coming back on our show.


Charles: Always a pleasure to see you guys.


Josh: So proud of you man. 


Lucas: Our show looks a little bit different. We’re all in the process of living through this Coronavirus situation and one of the biggest conversations is around workforce labor and especially nurses and frontline caregivers. So it was a natural thing for us to bring you back on the show. Talk to us about what you’re hearing. 


Charles: Yeah, it’s, it’s been pretty interesting. So, you know, because of what we do, we’re the front lines of, you know, those frontline caregivers replacing, you know, hundreds and hundreds of caregivers, thousands of caregivers and to kind of open and fill shifts. And I would say, you know, based on what we do, a lot of operators are looking for labor contingency plans. I think there is a lot of chatter, a lot of talk. You see it in the news about you know, how can we as an industry acquire PPE? You’re in personal protective equipment, which is all very, very good because that’s a very acute problem. 


But one of the things that I don’t think we’re talking about enough is, okay, what happens if, you know, facilities start getting shut down or they get quarantine or you know, our labor force because you know, their kids don’t have you know, daycare or school, they’ve gotta take care of them. What happens to our labor force? How do we supply labor force where it’s already gonna be suppressed based on just simple logistics. And then we have, that’s compounding with, you know, facilities, communities that are gonna need labor and then, you know, and they’re, and they’re quarantined. 


So I think over the next week or two you know, I hate the crystal ball question, but we may start pivoting between going from how do we acquire PPE to how do we make sure we have enough people that are healthy, protected, working in our work environment? And so you’re starting to hear a little bit of rumblings on that. We were talking to our heroes, everybody who works on our platform was called a hero. We’re talking about quite a bit. We don’t see a ton of concern yet, but there’s a little bit of kind of like, wait and see and what, what actually happens in the next few weeks. So I think, you know, just, it’s a little bit of tread lightly right now.


Josh: So that’s really interesting. And Charles, you guys with the platform that is really growing that you guys have formed you recently did some surveys and things like that. And tell us a little bit about who you surveyed, what that looked like, and maybe talk us through some of your findings.


Charles: Sure. Yeah. I mean, we, we initially sent out a survey to, I think about 600 people. We’ve got about 150 respondents. And again, these are most of them, I’d say 80, 90% of them coming are frontline caregivers. You know, mostly your CNS, care aids, you know, med techs, some LVN, LPN type, some RNs. But I would say 89% are on not that frontline caregiver category. We did it for our purposes to kind of forecast our business to say, you know, kind of just the question you asked, what is gonna happen with- how is the frontline and how are the front lines feeling? But as I know, we always hear from the executives and you know, what they’re doing to plan for this. But have we actually asked that, those frontline caregivers, what do they think about this? Are they afraid? 


And we had, so we sent four simple questions. And the very first question just asking frontline caregivers, how concerned are you about catching the coronavirus? And the interesting thing about it is, you know, the, the anywhere from the, I’m really scared to I’m not really worried at all. And then, you know, based on four different options, what was really, I guess, refreshing and helpful for us was, I guess you’d call this 72.5 percent of them said they’re either somewhat concerned, but they’re taking proper precautions. And then, you know, or a good portion of them said they’re not really worried at all. Well, this small handful of them said that they’re really, really scared. So that was that first question made me feel a little better. 


So then we started asking, okay you know, what about you know, facilities and the communities that you work in, how, how do you feel about those communities? And the good news is I think they also felt that most companies, not all were generally well prepared. I think the vast majority of them either said that, you know, they’re very well prepared. They’re doing the best that they can. They don’t think it’s gonna do much good. But the majority 57 plus percent said they’re prepared and their residents will be well cared for. So I thought that was, that was pretty, pretty refreshing. Now when you start getting into a little bit more of, you know, get a little more granular on this there you go. 


So asking a question, you know, how they feel about their own safety, we ask them the question, you know, with the threat of coronavirus you know, how concerned are you for your own safety? And will that affect your ability to work? 55% of them said they are concerned but they’re really not going to change their work habits. And 35% of them actually said this is going to motivate them to pick up more shifts. I thought that was fantastic because you have a workforce that feels like they’re still mission, and we always say this, our workforce, no matter it’s a tough job, but they’re still very missional and a lot of them are driven because of the coronavirus to help out our hearing communities and work more. So that was great. Only 10% of them said that they may end up working less because of a threat of their own health. 


Now the last question, which I thought was interesting, I think you can take this a couple of ways, is, you know, okay, let’s take a look at logistics. Let’s look at schools closing, daycare, closing churches, closing any institution closing. Regardless, you may want to pick up shifts or you may want to work, but will you have the ability because you’ve got to take care of a child, take care of a loved one? The good news is 70% of them said, you know what, it’s not going to affect me one bit at all. But 27.5 percent of ’em said, you know, yeah, it’s going to affect my ability to pick up work somewhat. Now how do we quantify somewhat, we don’t know, but think about, you know, if you have a hundred employees in your organization and a quarter of them are going to be affected somewhat. So that means at least what, somewhere between 10 and 20% of your workforce is going to be affected. You know, that’s just frankly wildly speculating. But that could affect your ability to bring in, you know, to have enough staff to work, you know, for your facility.

Now this is assuming it’s just, it’s a normal community, you know, everything’s going fine. Now, what happens if you actually have a case of coronavirus or you’re in lockdown in one of your cities? Does this get magnified? This is the piece that worries me that I think in a couple of weeks as we get more and more in, you know, lockdown, if we get more and more locked down and it’s going to affect the supply of our workforce and they’re going to, it’s just going to inhibit them and maybe prevent them from picking you up more and more chefs.


Josh: This is really interesting. Stuff Charles, thanks for sharing that. A few things that I just kind of jotted down questions as you were going through there. And that first question, do you think, it seems like a lot of the young people, younger workers seem to not be as frightened obviously as, as the older workforce. What do you think of these that were polled, the heroes that were polled, what do you think kind of the average age is on this work group?


Charles: You know, because it was a blind survey on, it was an anonymous survey. We don’t know. However, if you look at now, I really wished I have these to tell me, I guess I could come up with these statistics. If I had to guess, I would say our average pool is probably tends, it’s probably gonna tend somewhere in the late thirties, early forties is my guess. And so those are the ones that it seems like, you know, they’re already working, you know, they’re already working a lot anyway. I don’t think they have a ton of, you know, maybe kid issues to deal with. They may be a little bit the same as you in a way your generation a little bit are starting to get into that. But I, you know, I, I think, yeah, I don’t see a lot. We see a lot of the younger, you know, the younger folks on our platform, they’re still picking up shares. They’re still working. You know, it’s harder as hard as anybody else is right now.


Josh: A couple of great other things I noticed like you I’ve been amazed at the stories that are coming out and being shared and even some of our guests that we’re talking with that are sharing their labor situations that the number of call outs and has actually gone down. And I think in some of your questions here, the level of commitment that was shown to come to work that’s I think is something that we should be spotlighting about our industry that is not told enough outside of our industry that people don’t, don’t really know the inner workings that how committed of a workforce we have, the people that come to work, even in conditions like, like we are facing today. 


And then the third thing I’m wondering, it seems like some of the, I guess, less positive answers, which were obviously in the minority, but the people that maybe they’re thinking, hey, we may be less likely to come to work because of a certain condition or we may be compromised and coming to work if more daycares close or things like that. One of the things that we’ve heard over and over again as executives are planning is that many are trying to put plans in place for things like, hey, if you need to bring your child to work or if we need to assist with that so you can be at work and there’s a lot of efforts to almost over communicate those plans. Do you feel like that’s an opportunity as you’re getting feedback from your heroes that these different workplaces could be doing more of certain types of communication.


Charles: I, yeah, I think, Josh, I don’t think you can stress that point enough because we are in so many different buildings. We, you know, we see the good, the bad and the ugly. Everybody by now I think has some form of infection control policy. Some are better than others, some are more complete than others. Some are literally like cartoons. Here’s how you wash your hands and some are 700 pages long. And this is how like you put the certain gout on the global on, I can’t, I don’t think I can stress enough the level of communication all from the CEO all the way down to, you know, starting to call your director of nursing over and over and over and over and over again. 


You know, case in point, if there is a company actually a company not going to name names where you know, they have the proper, I guess you’d call it the proper infection control policies, but there’s not a lot of communication. They’re not being enforced. People were coming in and out at will, and you know, our, our workforce, they know, they, they go into enough buildings to know who’s doing a good job and who’s doing a bad thing. And the word has gotten out. I mean, I probably the last 72 hours, like, don’t go work at this building or don’t go work in this company because they don’t enforce their infection. If they don’t communicate. We don’t know what’s going on. And then rumors start to spread like, Oh, we think they have a COVID case. When they don’t, but you know, and then, and then literally nobody wants to come to work at that place, whether it’s their own employees or our employees or anybody else’s. And so that company needs, you know, if I had any recommendations, get ahead of it. Communicate. 


Now when the CEO, I’ve seen some really, really good CEO messages. If you’ve got a chance to, go on LinkedIn, look at what Phil Fog did at the marquee in his address. I thought it was fantastic, but I think the, you know, how the, the executive directors are communicating, what is your state, you know, multiple times a day, here’s what’s going on our community to the families, to the staff, the staff that’s not very, may have a lot of staff that’s not there. They don’t know what’s going on, but they may be coming in the next day. 


I, you know, it’s kinda like we, we lived through Hurricane Harvey and that was a crazy time, two, three weeks for us where we were communicating with staff, families from an executive level all the way down, at least twice a day. And there’s a column line with everything going on to just relieve panic for the way I look at this. This is, this is like a hurricane or post hurricane that it could last for months and months and months. So I mean, communication I think is just absolutely key and I’ve seen where it’s failed pretty, pretty badly in some cases.


Lucas: You know, Charles, we’ve talked a lot there, you know, even at the NIC spring conferences, there’s this collaboration between healthcare and senior living that comes up more and more and more. And this idea that I’m seeing just about the issues with PPE assisted living is not a hospital. And so for them to have stockpiled a lot of PPE, I imagine would not be a normal or a typical rational thing. What, how do you think that’s going to change in the future, given this massive pandemic of COVID for future years?


Charles: Well, I think it’s, you know, it’s two full problems, right? It’s how do we acquire it? What’s our strategy toward PPE? One, how do we use it as the other? I do know that there’s a lot of industry initiatives and it’s interesting. I mean, you know, the trade associations are trying to work together to come in mass. You know, they’re also working with the states and the states that are all competing with the federal government. And so you’re starting to see this, like everyone’s competing with each other and, and it’s kind of like you know, in any disaster or in any kind of league, call it a third world country where every NGO rushes in there to help and they all want to do a really good job, but then they start competing with each other and everyone’s hoarding everything. 

I think over time somebody in our industry is going to have to take, you know, whether it’s NIC, Argentum, ASHA, somebody’s going to have to the lead. And really, so, you know, we’re going to be in charge of a call it disaster recovery or disaster planning or whatever, you know, and we’re going to court and we’re going to be the quarterback for all this stuff. That’s going to have to come out of it. I think in some ways it’s only going to accelerate our alignment with. You know, we always talking about, okay, what’s happening with Medicare advantage and what’s happening with, you know, post acute and acute alignment. I think that’s strategically, it’s only gonna make us make more sense. So that’s, I think that’s, you know, over time we’ll see more alignment with the PPE acquisition side and coordination side.


One of the things that I’m not seeing, I don’t mean to be negative about this is, you know, I, I had the, the unfortunate luxury several years ago to spend two years, not me personally, but a loved one. You know, two years in Anderson Cancer Center in the leukemia area where, you know, folks in leukemia have after treatment, they have no immunity. And so if you look at the infection control processes of sort of a major hospital, especially something like that, you know. They not only monitor who comes in that space, who comes in the building, but they monitor how someone moves from room to room to room.


 I, you know, we’re having a lot of chatter around PPE about, okay, you know what, yeah, let’s, we need a car PPE and we need to make sure that no one else comes into our building except for health care workers. But we’re not really talking about as an industry that I’ve seen. If someone has it, please share it cause I’m looking for it. What are those infections, processes as someone goes from room to room. There’s a very strict process on how you do this stuff. And all we’re doing right now is talking about only healthcare workers can come in. And, well, the thing that concerns me is I think the biggest risks bringing people into a building are healthcare workers, right? Because they’re, a lot of them are going building to building, company to company and they may not know their carrier a week or so and they’re just spreading it from place to place. What happens once they’re in the building? I think that means to be a lot more effort on when someone’s in the building. How do we manage infection control? Yeah, we can isolate but we still need to treat or still need care. How do we do that and not spread it from, from, from room to room to room. I am not, I have not seen a lot of chatter. I’m always looking at the newsletters and the policies that come out of every day. I haven’t seen a lot of coverage of that and, and I hope over the next few days we’ve seen more chatter on that.


Josh: Man, this is so interesting. We could have a long conversation, a lot of long conversations on all this stuff that we’ve hit on. And I think there’s also a lot of implication as we talk about communication and even tracking room to room. I would imagine Charles even big in the I would consider healthcare tech space as well. And I’m just wondering, you know, how, how that all fits into this as senior living traditionally has kinda been one foot in to like digital and health tech and one foot in, you know, old school paper and binders and how, you know, post COVID, how that looks. I feel like this is forcing a lot of businesses to implement a lot of digital strategies and room remote access strategies that we haven’t ever been forced to deal with.


Charles: I think you’re right. I mean I think you’re absolutely right. I think it’s going to change the nature of, you know, what does a regional director do and what does a regional nurse do and how do you measure the effectiveness of your business? It’s, I think, you know, Whoa, I’m actually hoping soon are gone are the days of Hey, you know, how’s it going there? And hire residents, how your leads, you know, click, you know, this actually may force a lot of positive change we’ll see. But it could, I think the digital strategy that coming out of this and what people are forced to do and learn could be, could be very positive for us longterm.


Yeah, I agree. I think our industry is going to rally. I think we’re, you know, while we hear some negative stories like you will hear anywhere I think the majority of what we’re hearing is pretty positive. And as you say, and I think have appropriately named your team heroes, we believe in the heroes in the healthcare heroes. And I’m so thankful for the time that you’ve taken away from your team today. I know you’re worked overtime right now and it’s always a great pleasure to talk with you and have you on our show.


Charles: You know, I’ll always love what you guys are doing, so you know, appreciate the time you guys put into this. I know you have your day job, so I know this takes up a ton of time for you guys. So thank you. And of course, Sara, thank you for putting this all together because we know how this really works. So thanks for everything you guys are doing. 


Lucas: You got itCharles. Well, and to our listeners that enjoy these conversations you will be seeing more of Charles in the future back for more specific topics related to labor, workforce, and technology. But for right now we’ll connect in the show notes. And to our listeners, thanks for listening to bridge the gap. I know that you’ve got questions. Please engage with us on our social channels, shoot us a DM or go to Shoot us a message. We’ll make sure we get back to you. Have a great day and thanks for listening to Bridge the Gap.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Bridge the Gap podcast, the COVID-19 series. If you are company, community or caregivers are going above and beyond in their daily duties, we want to hear about it. Tag BTG, voice on social media, or send us a message

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BTG COVID-19 Ep. 4: Healthcare Hero Survey Results with Charles Turner