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Here Are Some Things Your Agency Can Do Today To Improve Home Care Services and Retain Clients.

Updated: Feb 7

Private pay caregiver happy with her elderly client

We think it's safe to say that most of us that work in the home care industry have experienced a day or two when everything that can possibly go wrong, does go wrong. And when things go wrong in home care, we're often met with very unhappy clients and families ready to switch agencies in a drop of a dime, or worse. Mistakes in home care can be catastrophic and can even result in hospitalization or death.

However, for agencies that are committed to improving their services and retaining clients, unhappy clients can teach us a lot about our operations, our staff, ways we conduct and provide services, and opportunities for improvement. This newsletter will share some simple, yet effective practices, all home care agencies can do to improve the home care experience clients and their families and retain existing clients. These simple steps will help your agency maintain client census and increase your client satisfaction ratings with your referral sources, resulting in an increase in new client referrals.

  • Provide a simple and thorough Intake process for new leads. So many agencies lose clients during the intake process due to lack of training and dedication from the intake staff. Your intake staff has the ability to lose or retain new clients, regardless of the challenges a client may have during the enrollment process. Having a dedicated and well trained intake team will guarantee that all leads convert to clients. Enrolling a new client for home care services requires a dedicated team that is willing and prepared to guide the client and his/her family through the long process of completing and submitting forms and documents. Your agency should hold regular meetings to discuss all new enrollees, progress status, and lost referrals to learn why a referral was lost and how to prevent it from happening again.

  • Mail out Thank You and Birthday Cards to clients. This applies to all agencies, small or large. Sending a simple Thank You or Birthday Card to each of your clients regularly will make a huge impact on how a client and their family feels should there ever be a time to consider whether they wish to remain a client or switch to another agency. Thank you cards are excellent for new clients that continue to be your client after 1, 3 or 6 months of care. Birthday cards, of course, are to be sent out the week of a client's birthday. Both gestures are heartfelt, and extremely affordable. No matter the size of your agency, we are certain the cost of paying $2 per card/ per client will not break the bank.

  • Have a dedicated team of retention specialists. Depending on the size of your agency, you might be able to afford to have several retention specialists, but for smaller agencies, having a single retention specialist is far better than having none at all. The responsibility and goal of a retention specialist is, you guessed it, to help retain all existing clients, and employees. We can't make the job too easy right? So here's the idea, while Service Coordinators are busy staffing cases and convincing caregivers to remain on assignments, retention specialists are able to speak regularly with clients and their families to gather insight on how they feel about the services your agency is providing. That can be anything from the quality of aides, to the way your service coordinators do or don't address any concerns expressed by the client or family. Experts in retaining, or losing clients, know very well that most clients switch agencies after several complaints were ignored or not addressed by a service coordinator. So to prevent losing clients, it is important that you know your clients, and do not rely or expect service coordinators to be your retention specialists. Because if it were up to service coordinators, your agency would have half the clients it has today. Retention specialists are also great resources to getting to know your aides better as well. A great retention specialist will be able to connect with both clients and field employees, or HHA's. Having a retention specialist that develops wonderful relationships with HHA's can help your agency best understand concerns aides may have or provide feedback that can help you improve the experience of working for your agency for aides.

  • Have weekly meetings with your Service Coordinators to motivate and inspire. Service Coordinators are by far, the most stressed employees at any home care agency. The work they do is difficult and requires lots of patience and dedication. It also requires lots of support and motivation. For those of us that have first hand experience as a service coordinator, you know very well the many challenges that come with the job, and how many times you secretly wanted to quit the job. For those that have only seen the job be done from a distance, we urge you to be more patient and supportive to service coordinators, and to provide them with the resources they need. Having weekly meetings with your service coordinators is an excellent way to gauge how your team is feeling about the work they do; gives them an opportunity to express their concerns with any clients they are having a difficult time stabilizing; and give you an opportunity to provide advice, support, praise, and gratitude for the work that they do. You see, without service coordinators, home care agencies will be chaotic, we all know this. So the better prepared and able they are to do their job, the better your agency can provide quality care to your clients. Some of the topics you can discuss during your weekly meetings tools and methods that help them do their jobs effectively, any challenges they are experiencing with the quality or availability of your aides, challenges they face staffing or stabilizing difficult cases which your agency may be at risk of losing, and any complaints or incidents that occurred that need to be addressed.

  • Do not ignore clients that are not receiving services as required on a regular basis. If your agency has any clients that are frequently having new aides assigned, are expecting to receive services but do not have an aide assigned for the day, you must address that immediately and urgently with your staff. Service Coordinators, Retention Specialists, and Human Resources/ Recruiters, must all be made aware of the issue and work together to find a quick and effective solution to the problem. Many times, clients that prove difficult to staff are a result of lack of communication between departments. Quite often, when a case proves to be difficult to staff, the reasons are either the location where the client lives is difficult for the agency to staff due to not having sufficient aides that live or are able to commute to the area, or the aides assigned to the case lack experience or the willingness to care for a client with certain medical conditions. Those challenges must be discussed openly among your team to find a solution to prevent an incident and loss of a client. If your agency is struggling to staff cases in difficult to reach areas, difficult to staff shifts, or challenges in retaining clients with certain medical conditions, your agency should consider either partnering with home care agencies that operate in the areas you are struggling to staff, or consider working with an agency that is capable and experience in providing staffing support to home care agencies. At AIDECAST, we are able to assist home care agencies with recruiting quality home health aides to be assigned to difficult to staff cases. We do this by tailoring our recruitment process to the specific needs of the agency and their clients. That means that the caregivers we recruit for home care agencies are being recruited for specific clients, locations, and shifts. If you need assistance with recruiting certified home health aides, contact AIDECAST today.


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