Have you heard any of these complaints from your clients?
While most home care agencies work extremely hard to provide great care to every client, there’s still a great deal that can be done to improve care and ensure even better experiences for clients.
At Home Care Pulse, we conduct surveys with thousands of seniors every month to understand their experience receiving home care and identify where the agencies serving them can improve. In doing this, we’ve identified ten top areas of client complaints. How many of these might be an issue for your agency?
1. Confusion in communication due to multiple caregivers caring for one client.
Clients like having the stability of one caregiver and one point of contact. Having a “point man” ensures responsibility is taken and assures clients that nothing will be lost in communication.
2. Caregivers who aren’t punctual.
Home care clients commonly report that caregivers come late or leave early. Some clients are on a strict schedule, and having a caregiver show up late means they could be left unattended. It can be a huge inconvenience for family members who have to stay longer while missing out on those extra 10-20 minutes they’re paying for.
3. Inconsistent quality of care.
Some caregivers are better at their job than others, but it can be really frustrating for a client when one caregiver is exceptional, then the next performs only basic tasks. Read our posts on recruiting, retaining and training quality caregivers to ensure your level of care is always reliable.
4. Caregivers spending too much time on phones.
Clients get really irritated when caregivers are on the clock and wasting time on their phones, neglecting the client. Enforce strict rules about cell phone usage, set a standard penalty for those who break the rules, and hold your caregivers accountable.
5. Lack of caregiver training.
Clients are sometimes upset when caregivers can’t perform basic cooking and cleaning requests. One woman we interviewed said when she asked her caregiver for a grilled cheese sandwich, the young woman stuck cheese on a piece of bread then dropped it in the toaster, creating a huge mess. Some caregivers may benefit from basic cooking instructions or recipes.
6. Cultural differences/language barriers.
Many cultures have different standards for cooking and hygiene. If you hire someone from another country, teach them about our customs and basic words in English before they start working. Language barriers and cleanliness differences can be very troubling and frustrating for your clients.
7. No discounted rates for 12+ hour shifts.
Clients who have a greater need for help will pay much more than those with only basic help needed. If your budget allows, try to take off a dollar or two for those long visits. This could be more difficult with the recent changes to caregiver exemptions, but clients will appreciate whatever effort you can make.
8. Pay schedule is inconvenient.
Some companies send out a weekly bill, but some clients prefer monthly billing since it’s easier to keeping track of payments. Keep clients in mind when planning your billing schedule.
9. Being charged time and a half.
Clients complain of being charged time and a half on holidays, which equals to about $30/hour. They feel that’s too steep and care shouldn’t cost that much. If you’re able to make adjustments, do so. At the very least, provide information for clients, so they understand why this policy is in place.
10. Not being told when caregivers call in sick.
It’s not uncommon for caregivers to call in sick to the office, but the office doesn’t call the clients or send a replacement. This is a communication problem that could cause astronomical problems for your clients and your home care business.
While all businesses struggle in one way or another, it’s important to take a detailed and honest inventory of your performance. Only by doing this can you begin the road to improvement and create a growing, healthy home care business. If you’re making one or more of these mistakes, take the necessary steps to solve the problem and prevent the negative impact these issues could have on your client pool and reputation.
Wondering what caregivers are saying? Check out the Top Ten Complaints from Caregivers.
What Complaints Do Your Clients Have?
It’s good to know the top complaints that are general throughout the industry, but it’s better to understand the specific complaints that your clients have. In our Quality Management Program, we call your clients (and caregivers) as a third party to get unbiased, direct feedback on how you can improve. Then we provide this feedback to you in custom reports with a breakdown of exactly where you can improve. To learn more about how you can learn exactly what your clients are saying about you, schedule a demo with one of our specialists today.