Have you heard any of these complaints from your clients?
Have you ever wondered what your clients are saying about you, your agency or your caregivers? Home care providers across the nation are providing nearly one million hours of care per day to nearly 400,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities. With every client served, agency owners should be asking themselves questions along these lines:
- Is my caregiver meeting the needs of this client?
- Is this client happy with our level of service?
- Would this client (or client’s family) leave us a positive review based off their feedback?
- Would this client recommend our services to a family member or friend?
At Home Care Pulse, we conduct thousands of surveys every month to collect data from caregivers and clients in the industry. Home care agency owners around the nation are finding incredible value in receiving real-time feedback from their clients and caregivers. From the data we’ve collected, here are the top ten home care client complaints of 2019:
10. Rude office staff
Some clients complained that not only are office staff unwilling to accommodate requests, but that the staff sometimes act rude, defensive, or even hostile.
9. Poor screening process
Some clients were displeased and felt that the root of their problems with an agency was simply that caregivers are being hired that are unfit for the job, due to factors like poor work ethic, substance abuse, or an unfriendly temperament
8. Issues with billing
Clients complained about agencies being behind or disorganized in their billing processes—or even billing for visits that didn’t happen. A recurring theme was billing clients for a shift when the caregiver was a no-show. In many of these cases, it appeared that simple communication might have addressed the issue very easily.
7. Poor client/caregiver compatibility
Some clients (or their family members) felt that their agencies did a poor job of matching them with the right caregiver. Most often, they mentioned language barriers or personality differences as the main source of the problem.
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6. Caregivers playing on their phones, watching TV, or sleeping while they’re on shift
Many clients have complained that their caregivers spend too much time on their phones when they need to be interacting with the client or getting tasks done. While most agencies have cell phone policies in place, this can be difficult to enforce without getting feedback from clients on whether it’s an issue.
5. Caregivers are late to a shift or don’t show up at all
Many of the responses we analyzed mentioned issues with caregivers showing up late or skipping out early. Interestingly, most of them were very forgiving if the agency communicated the problem ahead of time.
4. Too many caregivers or lack of consistency in having the same caregivers come
Clients nearly always prefer that one or two caregivers come consistently rather than frequently having to work with new caregivers. While caregiver turnover can make it difficult to accommodate this preference, some agencies have developed more effective strategies than others to meet this expectation.
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3. Agencies are unable to schedule clients according to the clients’ preferences
Typically, this meant either being unable to provide the number of hours that clients want or being unable to come during the specific times that the clients wanted. This likely reflects on the challenges of recruitment and retention that most agencies are currently struggling with.
2. Caregivers that aren’t trained properly
This can be broken down into categories: either individual caregivers lacked the training to deliver on the type of services clients requested, or groups of caregivers had such varied levels of training and preparation that it signaled a need for the agency to provide training programs to ensure better consistency across the board.
1. Office staff failing to communicate consistently, especially when there is a change in staffing
Communication has consistently been a strong theme in the surveys we’ve conducted for both clients and caregivers. While keeping clear communication is probably one of the easier ways that agencies can quickly improve client and caregiver experience, it seems that communication is one of the first areas to suffer when agencies are dealing with bigger challenges. An agency that can maintain clear, consistent communication even while dealing with larger challenges like being short staffed will find that it helps a lot of other things to go more smoothly.
Are you listening to your clients’ complaints?
Has your agency heard any of these home care client complaints? Hearing the negative truth from your clients isn’t easy for any agency owner, but receiving client feedback is invaluable to your agency’s improvement and success. To see client feedback shaping the strategy and success of an agency, check out a Right at Home agency success story in Midlothian, Texas.
We know there is a lot to digest here, and it may seem overwhelming to tackle all these home care client complaints that your agency hears. However, we recommend you take time to learn and understand what your clients are saying about your business, services and employees.
If you need help gathering client and caregiver feedback, don’t hesitate to reach out. Home Care Pulse offers satisfaction management services that can gather unbiased data from your clients and caregivers and report them back to you in a real-time dashboard. Request a demo to learn more.
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