Practical Tips to Improve the Culture and Performance of Your Home Care Agency

Home Care Office Staff Hiring Tips

With this empathetic and intuitive approach, your home care agency will be uniquely positioned to profitably and efficiently deliver superior patient care, says Kristen Duell, CEO of Savii.  

Caregivers are often critiqued on — and appreciated for — their bedside manner. How they speak to their patients clearly matters. The same should be true for everyone in your agency. Especially for agency owners and other managers — the words and tone that we use when communicating with caregivers is just as important.

All people want to feel understood and appreciated. Words matter. How we say them matters.  Unfortunately, our desire for efficiency and productivity often causes us to lose focus on empathy and appreciation. Yet, those are the exact qualities that make our work rewarding and worthwhile.

Here are two examples that you can act on immediately to have a big impact on the health of your agency’s culture. For example, at Savii, we’ve stopped using the title “caretaker” in favor of “caregiver”. Why? Because “giving care” sounds more empathetic than “taking care of.” It’s not splitting hairs; the words you choose matter. Some of our customers have adopted the title of “care partners” for their field staff.

Another example: How often do you hear someone in our industry refer to caregivers as skilled versus unskilled? Now ask yourself, how would you feel if people called you unskilled? At Savii, we refer them as non-clinical positions. These vital roles require a different skill set, but one that also has to be developed and mastered. Changing how you describe them is a small but powerful step in the right direction.

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The categories skilled and unskilled may be required for government forms and legislation, but there is no reason for them to carry over into our everyday conversation and agency communications. We may not be able to change how bills are written into law, but we can and should improve the culture of our organizations.

I won’t sugarcoat it. Changing your agency culture is hard, but it is worth it. Another good step is implementing a caregiver recognition program. Publicly sharing words of praise and encouragement not only increases the job satisfaction of the individual employee, it also boosts the morale of the agency. The five tips for establishing an effective caregiver recognition program listed on this page can help you get started for little or no out-of-pocket costs.

Clear communication makes everyone’s job better. Improving your technology is another actionable step you should consider taking. The right tools should keep caregivers connected to your agency, their clients and each other. Mobile apps, such as our Savii Connect caregiver app makes it easy for caregivers to manage schedules, document tasks and deviation of care, and capture signatures. Plus, electronic care journals help caregivers and families communicate by sharing critical care information such as dietary restrictions, allergies and current medications. By streamlining processes and empowering more empathetic communication, you will be able to make the work of caregivers more efficient and more rewarding while enhancing the quality of care provided by your agency.

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Words matter — and your actions do, too. Be thoughtful about how you and your agency communicate, and you will improve your culture and your bottom line. Show that you care with your words and back it up with real support. With this empathetic and intuitive approach, your home care agency will be uniquely positioned to profitably and efficiently deliver superior patient care.

See how Savii can help your agency communicate and perform better. We’re here to help.

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About the Author:

Kristen Duell is the CEO of Savii, Inc. With a background in healthcare information technology, she is focused on bringing innovation to the needs of post-acute care agencies.

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