Perry Lutheran Homes Receives 2021 Excellence in the Workplace Award

The Excellence in the Workplace award is given to a program that demonstrates in policy and practice that investing in the staff and workplace environment are critical to the delivery of quality care and services. The winner shall demonstrate innovation in workforce development policies and practices and ensures that all levels of staff obtain training. Perry Lutheran Homes’ StepUp Career Advancement Program won the award for providing a pathway for employees of Perry Lutheran Homes working in any career field or position to earn certifications and degrees through promotion, higher education, and tuition reimbursement.

The StepUp Career Advancement Program was launched to build a stable, direct care workforce of highly trained, qualified, and committed nurses, nurse aides, and other long-term care staff at Perry Lutheran Homes, ensuring that every older adult in need of care receives the best care possible. In creating this program, goals include reducing turnover, improving culture and morale, improving resident satisfaction and quality of life, among varied other benefits to staff, residents, and the community.

Enjoy the video and nomination write-up below!

Award Nomination Write-Up

As of June 2021, up to 94 percent of nursing homes and 81 percent of assisted-living communities have had a staff shortage in the past month (AHCA/NCAL, 2020). And, nearly 75 percent of nursing homes and nearly 60 percent of assisted-living communities said that their workforce situation has worsened in the past year. In addition, the direct care workforce is expected to add 1.3 million more new jobs from 2018 to 2028; over 63,000 of those will be needed right here in Iowa (PHI, 2020). Yet, across the state and nation, long-term care communities struggle to fill open positions.

As one part of a multi-pronged approach, Perry Lutheran Homes launched the StepUp Career Advancement Program in February 2021 to build their own stable, direct care workforce of highly trained, qualified and committed nurses, nurse aides and other long-term care staff. The purpose is to ensure that every older adult in need of care is able to receive not just basic care, but the absolute best care possible.

This program is a pathway for employees of Perry Lutheran Homes working in any career field or position to earn certifications and degrees through promotion, higher education and tuition reimbursement. In return, employees commit to work a certain amount of agreed upon time. A partnership with Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) has been established to be the local, educational institution of choice for the career advancement program to grow and develop local community members into senior care leaders of today and tomorrow.

Additional program goals include: reducing turnover through team member development and commitment; reducing costs associated with recruiting, hiring, orientation and training; improving culture and moral through adequate staff, diversity in staff, personal development, professional development, team member longevity, and career advancement; provide healthcare and long-term care careers and opportunities for advancement to attract employees and offer employment opportunities to our community; improve resident satisfaction, quality of care, and quality of life through adequate staffing, consistent staffing, highly trained and educated staff, long-term dedicated employees passionate about long-term care, and stronger resident-staff relationships and trust.

Since launching the StepUp Career Advancement Program, we have had several employees utilize the program for CNA certification, and several more are interested in pursuing nursing degrees. These individuals have shown their commitment and dedication to Perry Lutheran Homes and are passionate about caring for our residents. In return, we are investing in them and helping them grow, learn and develop through higher education, additional training, and tuition reimbursement.

In addition to the StepUp Career Advancement Program, Perry Lutheran Homes works to provide competitive pay, offer generous benefits, provide discounted on-site daycare, and to reward excellent performance and attitudes through our unique bid-your-raise program to empower employees.

Careers in long-term care are some of the most rewarding careers that anyone will ever find. Therefore, it is our responsibility as leaders in long-term care to build awareness, to advocate, and to support them in every way possible.