Well-being app helps retain staff in social care

Two years ago, leading care provider Abbots Care launched an innovative app to enhance the mental and emotional well-being of its staff. Since then, it’s seen a dramatic impact on staff retention. 

Social care is facing many challenges at the moment. As our sister site, Social Care Today, recently reported, new data published by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) shows nearly a quarter of a million people waiting for their care needs to be assessed, and 470,000 older and disabled people either waiting for care to start, direct payments or their care needs assessed. One factor in this shortfall is the problem of retaining trained staff in the sector.

man holding smartphone in close up photography

Photo by Adrian Swancar

Skills for Care, a leading workforce development organisation for adult social care, says that high turnover of staff has an ‘emotional impact’ on care users and can also ‘reduce the quality of care they receive.’ What’s more, it’s expensive at a time of ever tighter financial constraints. Skills for Care estimates that recruiting and training a replacement care worker can cost up to £3,600. 

To address this, we need to understand why trained staff leave the sector. A CQC Adult Social Care Workforce Survey conducted in January 2023 revealed that 28% of homecare providers cited staff burnout as a significant factor in leaving. The survey highlighted the critical need for solutions to address the well-being and job satisfaction of care workers. That bolstered the findings of a 2021 study which found that 26% of care workers were likely to be experiencing some form of depression, with 27% likely to be experiencing an anxiety disorder. 

In fact, leading care provider Abbots Care, which has been rated as ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), was quick to respond to that 2021 finding, and developed its new well-being app to provide essential resources and support to remote employees, with a focus on mental health, stress management and work-life balance.

Mobile phone showing the Abbots Care well-being app

The Abbots Care well-being app

The app’s features include ‘well-being check-ins’, where staff regularly articulate their feelings in both their professional and personal lives, which provides Abbots Care with insights into the emotional health of the whole team so that, where needed, support can be targeted. Staff can also praise and support one another through the app, cultivating a collaborative and positive atmosphere across the care community. In addition, the app enables staff to share feedback from service users. 

A rewards system integrated into the app incentivises regular engagement with the app and participation in activities that enhance well-being. The app also offers practical advice and strategies to help with such issues as stress management, sleep improvement, and self-care.  

This proactive approach benefits staff but also makes it easier for management to keep in touch with remote employees. In doing all this, it helps to address the high costs associated with staff turnover. Since the launch of the app two years ago, Abbots Care has seen a 10% year-on-year increase in staff retention rates.  

Charlotte W, a Care Worker at Abbots Care, says: ‘The well-being app is a great asset to Abbots Care. I’m able to see amazing feedback about the good things going on with other staff and shout out to my colleagues when they’ve done something amazing. It’s boosted morale amongst us knowing that there is a tool that’s not only for work but helpful for thoughts and feelings from our personal life too. I cannot wait to see the future of this app and to see the positive effects it has on our care workers.’ 

Camille Leavold, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Abbots Care, adds: ‘Retaining and appreciating our workforce is something really close to my heart, and since its launch, our app has made a huge impact not only in the way our people and company communicate but our culture and team motivation as a whole.’ 

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