How to Reduce Turnover and Grow Your Agency Using Specialized Care

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Home care agencies across the country are fighting to stay competitive. Here’s how to set your agency apart with specialized care. 

Like it the old fashioned way?

Have you ever wondered how specialized care would affect recruitment, new client intake, and agency competitiveness? While providing specialized care isn’t going to transform your business overnight, it will help you become a more competitive employer and care provider.

At Home Care Association of America‘s Virtual Leadership Conference, Brett Ringold, Vice President at A Long Term Companion, discussed the need for home care agency owners to focus on two sets of clients: the clients themselves and your caregivers. Caregivers are just as much of a client in home care, especially with the current state of recruitment, retention, and turnover. Treating them as such and providing room for further growth and learning through specialized care training will improve your positioning in the market.

As you may already know, Home Care Pulse recently merged with In the Know Caregiver Training. We’ve found that to care for an aging population’s increasingly complex needs, caregivers need a more intentional focus on specialized education to provide clients with safe, comprehensive care.

Home care agencies across the country are tailoring their models to include specialized care. How are you going to adapt?

What is specialized care?

Specialized care can take many different forms – which we’ll discuss later – but it’s important to understand the foundation first.

A Caregiver Specialist is a caregiver with advanced training in a targeted topic that is relevant to the client population he or she serves.

Whereas most caregivers are trained in basic caregiving methods, specialized caregivers have in-depth knowledge about a particular condition and ways to provide clients with the best care possible based upon their needs. Specialized care goes above and beyond the standard training for caregivers.

While specializing isn’t critical for every agency, some statistics prove that there is a growing demand as time progresses.

The advantages of specialized care

Should you offer specialized care to your clients?

There is a lot to unpack with this question, but we can help you get started. Depending on the size and target of your agency, specialized care might be a great idea.

Current research supports a broadening need to provide specialized care for specific clinical conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, diabetes, behavioral health issues, and preventing readmissions.

While there are many pros and cons to specializing, here are a few of the ways that it might benefit your agency.

Personal and professional growth for caregivers

In 2019, we surveyed nearly 100,000 caregivers on behalf of their agencies to see what was going well and what wasn’t. One of the top complaints we heard was about the industry’s lack of training and growth. One caregiver even told our team, “I have clients with specific needs, and they don’t train me on how to help them. One time they told me just to look up videos on YouTube.”

Home care’s sad reality is that sometimes caregivers can face stagnant responsibilities with little personal or professional development. No agency wants to hear this complaint from their staff. It’s important to give your caregiver opportunities to enhance their skills or learn more about new areas.

This is where specialization can come into play. If a caregiver is excited about a particular care topic, it might be beneficial to provide them with training to break into a new arena.

Providing ongoing opportunities for caregivers to grow and learn new skills will help to limit caregiver turnover while attracting more qualified caregiver applicants. The more you focus on development, the stronger your agency will be.

Opens a door of opportunities to reach new groups of clients

In home care, specializing can provide a great opportunity to get in front of clients that other agencies might not be able to. You’ll often find that individuals with specific concerns and needs are searching for agencies that can specifically cater to their condition. A generalized agency might not be equipped to handle these clients, and therefore, you’ll gain new business.

It gives you a chance to choose the type of client you want to work with, rather than feeling compelled to accept anyone who comes your way.

While it might seem like segmenting the market is not the best idea, we can assure you that providing specialized care can get you in front of clients that your typical agency wouldn’t be able to.

Increased competitiveness

Every home care agency offers caregiving services – that’s a given, but unless you are doing something to stand out from the crowd, you likely won’t be as competitive as other top agencies.

Types of specialized care

Specialized caregivers have advanced training in common conditions and are simply more knowledgeable in complex areas of care. When caregivers train and specialize in certain areas, you’ll likely see a rise in client satisfaction.

Here are a few of the specializations your agency could consider.

In the 2020 Home Care Benchmarking study, we evaluated the top specialty services offered by home care agencies.

Specialist care

After looking at the data, it’s clear that behavioral health care, compared to other specialty services, is a very small segment of the market. According to the CDC, even though senior care clients often “seem okay,” almost 20% of people over 60 suffer from some type of mental health issue – including depression, anxiety, OCD, hoarding disorder, PTSD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia – with less than 3% seeking outside help.

How to implement a specialized care program

Creating a specialized care program isn’t difficult, but it does take a little bit of planning upfront to make sure the transition is smooth. Here’s where to get started.

Decide what specialty your market demands

As you evaluate your current client base and target market, what similarities do you see? Across the board, do your clients have conditions that are similar or do you have inquiries about a certain type of specialty care?

Maybe you have individuals reaching out to you about caring for their diabetic needs or family members who want a caregiver for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

No matter what, you are ultimately the expert on your market and know what sort of specialization would benefit both your community and your bottom line.

Seek training

Specialty care can quickly take your organization from good to great. In the Know Caregiver Training provides opportunities for home care agencies to specialize in areas beyond the basics.

They also offer Specialized Learning Paths that are pre-built and ready to use. Current In the Know subscribers can simply search the library for “ITK’s Caregiver Specialist Training” to see the complete list and then assign courses to caregivers with one click.

The platform is extremely easy to use and will help give your caregivers the leverage they need to perform better care for those with distinguished conditions.

Promote your newly specialized services to the community

In home care, competing with other agencies for referral partners will always be one of the biggest challenges faced in your marketing efforts. When you begin to specialize, it ultimately helps you level up against the competition, while making your agency the go-to resource for the particular type of care you provide. Having referral sources will give your agency an advantage in having a steady pipeline of new clients.

Specialist learning paths and training

Specialized learning paths are a great tool for helping your caregivers to expand their knowledge of home care. These paths include pre-built sets of curricula focused on all the common conditions that caregivers may encounter during their typical work schedules.

Regardless, helping your caregivers to become more specialized in their craft will allow for continuous growth, both for the caregivers themselves and your agency as you hone in on your target market.

Has your home care agency embraced specialized care? Here are a few more resources on training and specialty learning to help you get started:

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