More hospitals considering on-site child care to retain staff

Hospitals across the U.S. are struggling to keep workers, and some organizations are considering child care centers for their employees to help address the issue, Kaiser Health News reported July 28.

Retention is not a new challenge for hospitals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have offered competitive pay to retain workers, as well as other perks like on-site day care, housing and tuition reimbursement/assistance programs.

Take Boston-based Mass General Brigham, for example. The health system offers child care to its employees and partnered with national child care services provider Bright Horizons in July 2021, the organization told Becker's in March. Mass General Brigham operates six child care centers that are managed by Bright Horizons. Through the Bright Horizons partnership, employees can receive additional benefits including full-time, center-based child care, center-based and in-home backup child care, nanny services and tutoring.

Among some other examples cited by Kaiser Health News are Charleston, S.C.-based Roper St. Francis Healthcare, which operates a learning center, and Atlanta-based Wellstar Health System, which has a learning academy.

And although it remains rare for hospitals to offer on-site child care, other organizations are considering it to keep workers, according to Kaiser Health News.  

The publication reported that Johnson City, Tenn.-based Ballad Health plans to invest $37 million over the next three years to build more than 10 child care centers.

The increased focus on child care for some hospitals comes as a study published July 18 in JAMA Network Open found that child care stress was prevalent among healthcare workers and associated with burnout, anxiety, depression, intent to reduce clinical hours and intent to leave the job.

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