One thing to keep in mind is that agencies that operate remotely will need to work harder to foster unity and culture among their remote team. Being distant from your team can make it more challenging to build and uplift interaction and communication among employees. It takes extra work, especially when water-cooler talks and open-door policies may no longer be an option.
Virtual hiring processes – interviews & orientation
Many home care agencies have begun to pursue virtual interviews and orientation in place of in-person.
Contrary to popular belief, virtual interviews can still be a good way of deciding if someone will be a positive addition to your team. Some argue that virtual interviewing makes it more difficult to see your interviewee, their body language, and how they react to certain questions; however, there are many workarounds to this, and one major one includes using video conferencing programs. Virtual interviews don’t just have to be done over the telephone. You can now use platforms like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Google Meet for face-to-face interaction.
While it’s possible that some elements of the interpersonal interaction are tough to replicate over videoconferencing, many agency owners report other benefits that might serve as trade-offs: improved show-up rates, for example, as well as the ability to more easily connect caregivers and interviewers who may live in different areas.
The same goes for virtual orientations – and in many cases is almost no different than hosting an in-person orientation. Before hosting an online orientation, you should be slightly more prepared by sending out documents and information ahead of time via email. Then, as your training progresses, your new employees will be able to follow along with the required documents, information, and curriculum.
Adapting to a telehealth model of care
In a study conducted earlier this year by the Home Care Association of New York State, nearly half of the agencies surveyed said they have experienced patients or family members refusing entry of home care personnel.
In this manner, telehealth has become a necessity for home health agencies who wish to help those who are wary of having caregivers/nurses in their home. This also goes for patients who are already quarantined, sheltering in place, or social distancing.
Many agencies have adapted to an inclusive telehealth model that allows patients comfort knowing that there is no risk of exposure. Telehealth and virtual care allow a safe, technology-based care and communication method without the need for extensive precautions such as PPE, sanitization, and more.
Increased usage of technology
While using technology in home care isn’t a new idea, many agencies are starting to make some major changes in their approach.
After talking with Andrea Cohen, CEO at Houseworks, we learned that one step they’ve taken is to provide tablets to their caregivers to establish peace of mind during these seemingly crazy times. By using hand-held technology, caregivers can continuously be inputting client information while sharing real-time updates with family members who might not have the opportunity to be present. The caregivers become the eyes and ears and can easily translate that to the clients’ loved ones.
Communication across the industry has skyrocketed – due in part to the increased usage of technology – and client/caregiver satisfaction scores have risen as a result.
We’ve noticed that home care agencies have been adopting new (and old) technologies at a much faster rate. It’s becoming a necessity, and those who aren’t adapting are now in the minority.
Some of these technologies include: