- Financial incentives increase the number of caregivers who both start and complete relevant online training.
- Incentives are effective for caregivers with a range of characteristics.
- Though awareness of training availability was limited, financial incentives were very effective for those who were aware.
Millions of Americans provided home-based care for individuals with disabilities, both formally and informally. However, the majority have received no formal training. Helping Restore Ability (HRA)–a nonprofit in north Texas that helps provide home-based care services to people with disabilities–offers online training modules for caregivers. These modules vary, but overall they help caregivers communicate with patients and medical workers and support better patient outcomes.
In an effort to connect more caregivers with this relevant training, HRA began offering caregivers financial incentives to complete them. Starting in early 2021, LEO launched a randomized controlled trial to study the effect of the financial incentive on caregiver participation. Their sample had a total of 747 caregivers who were placed into one of four different groups: a control group who received an email with access to the training, and three separate treatment groups who received identical emails about accessing the training, but with varying financial incentives. For this study, LEO researchers compared the engagement outcomes of caregivers in terms of how aware they were of the training programs and how likely they were to enroll or complete them.
What We Learned
The LEO researchers found that the financial completion incentive was effective for HRA’s participants. Those in the groups with financial incentives were more likely to participate, with an 8.5 percentage point increase in those who received $50.
Still, caregivers’ awareness of training availability was relatively limited. Despite multiple emails informing them about the opportunity, only 37 percent of individuals were actually aware of the opportunity to complete the training modules. However, for those who were aware of the program, the financial completion incentive was very effective. Participation increased by 23 percent among those who had a $50 financial incentive and also read at least one email.
On top of this, the researchers found consistent results regardless of individual caregiver characteristics. Financial incentives to complete the trainings were effective regardless of participants’ hours worked, hourly wages, or their patient’s gender.
Where We’re Going
Looking into the future, LEO’s evaluation will help HRA and similar nonprofits best serve caregivers and their clients by showing them how to keep caregivers well-informed on how to best support those living with disabilities.
Here at LEO, we look forward to continuing our partnership with HRA and building evidence around what works to develop the skills and confidence of HRA caregivers. Our partnership is built on the belief that caregivers have the potential to make a difference in enabling millions of Americans with disabilities to lead full, independent lives.
Learn with us.