Top Ten Complaints from Home Care Clients – 2019

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Have you heard any of these complaints from your clients?

Like it the old fashioned way?

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:

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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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About the Author:

Miriam is a Project Manager at Home Care Pulse and comes from a background in traditional and digital marketing. Previously, she worked at a radio broadcasting group, social media ad agency and a freelance web designer/graphic designer. Miriam has helped local businesses achieve great success through marketing strategy and execution. She's explored and added value to many different industries, but now finds herself passionate and motivated to help the home care industry grow.

One Comment

  1. Patricia Smith October 12, 2019 at 8:10 am - Reply

    The problem is you get what you pay for. Making a little more then minimum wage, no over time, no benefits..no holidays… vacations..than expect 100% professionalism and experience..there are good home care workers..I m one of them.. but I get upset because not only does the agency lie to the caregivers..but the client lie …I have walked in to homes where the person receiving care is worse off then expected.. and I administer would be considered more proper with two staff in nursing home.. I had a different idea of home care, emptying urine bags..changing catheters..using lifts and hospital equipment..and then they get mad if you refuse to administer meds..(your not suppose to..your not a med tech) They try to manipulate you into to doing things your arent suppose to do..but because no one else is there…you get stuck doing a lot of stuff you arent being paid for..like cutting grass..trimming bushes…running them all over town to shop..dressing a 200 lb quadriplegic is not what I wanted to do..its home care..not taxi…they also lie about the mental capacity.. I worked with a woman who is bi polar and wouldn’t take her meds.. I got cussed and screamed at every day…..its a bit much..but these are realities…I am told they can walk with minimum assistance.. not true.. they use the toilet fine..not true….minimum house work and shopping ..not true..I have worked harder as a home care then in a nursing home because you do everything alone..you are the activity coordinator.. your the medical transportation..chef… Once the family gets someone in there that’s a worker… the family drops all responsibility on the worker.. and I mean everything…and we get burn out..quick….I cant tell you of a day my arms and back dont hurt from moving my client around… Also we put up with smoking…pets…cleaning up after others….family squabbles…and on top of it all expected to be a therapist too…if we were paid for everything we would be making a lot more. Dont get me wrong I love my job..but like I said..it wasnt what I expected for home care.

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