High Quality Home-Care Services Are Just the Beginning
Innovative Co-op Features a Better Trained, Highly Sustainable Workforce
Cooperative Care is a member-owned cooperative in rural Wautoma, Wisc., providing in-home services to consumers who are elderly, developmentally disabled or chronically mentally ill. The organization’s services range from personal care, range of motion and medication support to home cleaning, lawn care and meal assistance.
The cooperative measures client and worker-owner satisfaction—as both are critical to the success of the enterprise. A recent survey found that 96 percent of all clients reported being satisfied with all aspects of care they received. The organization also surveyed its member-owners, finding general satisfaction with leaders and other improvements in areas that can affect dissatisfaction and turnover. Members report receiving higher wages, paid time off and holidays, health insurance and other benefits — all of which were previously unavailable.
In fact, turnover among Cooperative Care’s workforce stands at 0 percent — an astonishing record, especially when compared to turnover rates among other home care businesses, estimated by the USDA to be as high as 40-60 percent. The organization’s fiscal performance has also exceeded expectations, netting a small profit allocated among retained equity, loan repayments and distribution of cash payouts of patronage funds based on members’ hours worked.
While the initial costs of the program to Waushara County were 40 percent higher than its predecessor program, the cooperative model has generated a surprising number of benefits. These include access to a more sustainable, better trained and supported workforce of care providers, reduced risk and improved coordination of service delivery. Cooperative Care plans to expand its service area to surrounding counties — an opportunity unavailable under the previous business arrangement.