We’re Home Care Pulse, a leading provider of experience management & surveys, caregiver/CNA training, and online reputation management.

Choosing an online caregiver training program? Here are 11 questions you should ask to help you determine the right provider.

It’s no exaggeration to say that your caregiver training program will shape the quality of care that your clients receive.

While in-home care is often divided into skilled and nonskilled, these terms are misnomers: every role in caregiving requires skill, knowledge, and training.

Better-trained caregivers are more likely to provide better care, have higher job satisfaction, and stay with an agency longer.

Even before COVID-19, most agencies were shifting to online caregiver training because of the quality and flexibility it provides. While the ideal format is to use both online and in-person, agencies that aren’t offering some form of online training are losing the battle to attract and retain caregivers.

Choosing the right online caregiver training program is a major decision; the courses, the format, and the platform all matter.

Whether you’re looking into your first professional online caregiver training program or considering a switch to a different one, let’s talk about the benefits of such programs, and how to choose the right training provider for your agency.

Also, a quick note:

You might have heard, but in 2020, we merged with In the Know Caregiver Training. As of September 28th, 2021, Home Care Pulse, In the Know, and Home Care Institute have been formed into one brand to help home care agencies overcome caregiver shortages. (You can read more about the rebrand here).

We did this because when caregiver training works hand-in-hand with Experience Management and Reputation Management, agencies have been able to achieve major recruitment success.

So of course, we hope you’ll choose HCP Training—but we’d rather you do your homework and made an informed decision that’s right for your agency. We’ll talk about Home Care Pulse at the end of the article.

Benefits of the Right Online Caregiver Training Programs

Whether you’re deciding how much budget to allocate to caregiver training programs or trying to convince your boss to allocate more budget to caregiver training programs, here are some things to keep in mind:

Providing options for online caregiver training allows caregiver to learn at their own pace, which makes world of difference in staying engaged and retaining what they learn.

Good caregiver training programs boost recruitment; they help you build a career ladder that can be a major draw for good caregivers in the area if you use them properly.

Providing paths for caregivers to upskill helps them to stay engaged in their work and see a long-term future for themselves with your agency.

Well-trained caregivers provide better care to clients, who in turn become more likely to stay with your agency longer and refer their friends to you.

Specialized caregiver training allows you to create higher-margin specialty programs; these programs are typically far more profitable because clients are less price-sensitive and stay with the agency longer.

The bottom line: quality online caregiver training pays for itself, and then some.

Choosing an Online Caregiver Training Program: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy

1. Does the course catalog contain a wide range of relevant courses?

When selecting an online caregiver training provider, make sure they have courses covering a wide range of topics including psychosocial issues, basic skill reviews, disease processes, and professional development issues.

Providing caregivers with knowledge of problem-solving, communication skills, self-care, and stress management is just as important as teaching them about disease processes.

And, since a good way to encourage caregiver retention is to create a meaningful career ladder, look for a provider who offers advanced training in targeted topics so that you can help your caregivers become caregiver specialists.

For context on some of the most important topics to train on, here are the top things that agencies around the country reported training on last year: (percentages are percentages of agencies training on that topic)

2. Do they offer a blended learning plan that mixes online and in-person training?

Home Care Pulse associates survey thousands of caregivers every month to learn how their agencies can improve and find out what’s important to them. A strong trend we see is that many caregivers prefer a mix of both online, self-paced training with hands-on, in-person training.

It makes sense; everyone learns differently and some topics simply work better when they’re taught live. A variety of formats helps caregivers retain the information better and stay more engaged.

While in-person caregiver training isn’t always possible in the age of COVID, you should implement it where possible. Look for a training provider that offers eLearning, take-home packets, and instructor guides for providing in-person training.

3. Does the price reflect the quality—and does it fit your budget?

Obviously, price comes into any business decision, but you should avoid basing the decision off price alone. Make sure you get a good look at the platform and the content before you buy.

Hint: PowerPoint slides should not be considered quality eLearning! Request samples and make sure the prices matches the quality of the product.

Additionally, ensure that your budget factors in the importance of caregiver training and the impact it has on your agency. With the role that it plays in client experience, quality assurance, caregiver retention, and the overall growth of your agency, you should make sure it’s given priority as you create your budget.

4. Are the topics developed by people with clinical, real-world experience?

Find out who develops the training materials. While there’s some benefit to courses authored by a medical doctor or a social worker, for instance, that can also be a marketing ploy designed to make the product sound impressive while providing content from someone who’s never worked on the front lines of home care.

The best courses are those created by clinical workers with real hands-on experience teaching caregivers, managing caregivers, and working as caregivers themselves.

5. Are the courses engaging?

Your caregivers should look forward to new topics, rather than dreading it as something to get through. Look for courses that encourage participation, critical thinking, and meaningful discussions.

Insist on a free sample that you can try out with your team before you make a purchase.

6. Do topics satisfy state and federal requirements?

You have certain topics you MUST teach to make sure your caregiver training is compliant with state and federal requirements. The caregiver training provider you choose should know the requirements for your state and have courses ready and waiting for you!

7. Are topics kept up-to-date?

The healthcare field changes constantly! Using outdated caregiver training materials puts your clients and caregivers at risk of injuries, infections, errors, and poor quality of care. It can also increase your legal liability if there is a problem.

One of the benefits of online caregiver training is that the training provider can update it automatically. Ask the caregiver training provider how often their material is updated and look for material that is less than two years old.

8. Does it offer specialist learning paths?

Specialist learning paths are an underrated tool; offering specialty care allows you to attract and retain better caregivers by offering a career ladder, provide better client care, establish more referral partnerships by differentiating your agency, and even enjoy a higher overall profit margin.

9. Are there add-ons or value-added services that would be useful to you?

Be sure to ask about the perks of doing business with the online caregiver training provider you choose. This may include bonus courses, useful platform features, or available discounts.

10. Can the training provider deliver excellent ongoing customer care, even after the contract is signed?

It should be easy to get in touch with a provider’s customer service representatives. They should be willing and able to answer all your questions and provide training in a timely manner. Make sure there are multiple ways to reach the company, such as email, local and toll-free phone numbers, live chat, and social media.

11. Are their Alzheimer’s and dementia courses recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association?

Endorsements from major medical organizations go a long way. Recognition by the Alzheimer’s Association is particularly critical because Alzheimer’s and dementia play such a huge role in senior care today, and because so many agencies try to provide specialist care programs centered around them (sometimes without the proper training or credentials).

Time to Do Your Homework

Choosing the right caregiver training provider is an important decision, so shop around!

Quality online caregiver training, packaged in the right caregiver training programs and delivered by the right training provider, can make a significant impact on the experience that clients and caregivers have with your agency.

How well does HCP Training stack up?

There are a few really excellent online caregiver training companies out there, but we’d be remiss if we wrote an article about online caregiver training programs and didn’t speak to the value of the one that we think is the best in the business.

Let’s talk about some of the benefits.

1. Does HCP Training’s course catalog contain a wide range of relevant courses?

HCP Training currently offers more than 180 courses for CE credit, with more always in the works. Most competitors offer fewer than 100 courses, though a few offer more. See the catalog here.

2. Does HCP Training offer a blended learning option?

Yes—and Home Care Pulse is still the only provider offering a blended learning solution in the home care space. With the constant feedback from our monthly surveys that most caregivers want both online and in-person training, that was a big advantage we saw as we considered merging.

3. Does the price reflect the quality, and does it fit your budget?

Only you can speak to whether it fits your budget. We’d also invite you to get a demo of our Care Intelligence Platform (including HCP training and our survey/reputation management services), so you can decide for yourself whether the price reflects the quality.

Also, as far as pricing and budget goes—know that Home Care Pulse will price match against competitors.

4. Are HCP Training topics developed by people with real-world clinical experience?

Yes. All of the HCP Training courses are designed by a team of registered nurses who have worked as, trained, and supervised caregivers themselves.

5. Are the courses engaging?

The caregivers taking the courses say so, according to customer feedback. The platform also offers gamification, so that caregivers who complete more courses and spend more time in the platform rack up points; many agencies use this to power incentive programs.

6. Do topics satisfy state and federal requirements?

Yes. You can check out Home Care Pulse’s state requirements page to learn the requirements for your state as well as the courses In the Know offers to help you stay compliant.

7. Are topics kept up-to-date?

Every caregiver training course that’s apart of HCP Training is updated every 2 years, or sooner if it’s an important change that needs to happen right away.

8. Does Home Care Pulse offer specialist learning paths?

Home Care Pulse offers a variety of specialist learning paths, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care, diabetes care, behavioral health care, preventing readmissions, restorative care, and palliative care. You can learn more here.

9. Are there add-ons or value-added services that would be useful to you?

Among other things, Home Care Pulse offers a caregiver app, courses translated into Spanish, and significant discounts for corporate customers with multiple locations.

10. Can the caregiver training provider deliver excellent ongoing customer care after the contract is signed?

Speaking as myself, Connor the writer here: the best answer I can give here is that the day I wrote this article, I heard a Home Care Pulse customer in Minnesota describe his customer care as “the best customer service I’ve seen in my entire life.” It’s the real deal.

11. Are Home Care Pulse’s and dementia courses recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association?

Home Care Pulse is one of only a handful of independent caregiver training providers in the world with courses recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association. You can click here to view the other two, as well as the list of franchise and care organizations whose proprietary care programs have been recognized.

Learn More

Best of luck in your search for the right online caregiver training! If you want to learn more about Home Care Pulse’s caregiver training programs, here are some resources to get you started:

HCP’s Care Intelligence Platform offers RN-developed training, satisfaction surveys, and reputation management tools to help you become the best employer and provider in your area—and make sure everyone knows about it.

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