When It Comes to Training, One Size Does Not Fit All!

Author imageStacey Tavarez
Home Care Office Staff Hiring Tips

Any agency adhering to Medicare’s CoPs in Home Health or Hospice must offer at least 12 hours of in-service training every 12 months. As you plan your 12-hour CE program, here are some things to keep in mind. 

Like it the old fashioned way?

Any agency adhering to Medicares CoPs in Home Health or Hospice must offer at least 12 hours of in-service training every 12 months. But what should those twelve hours cover? At what cadence should you offer the courses? Can they all be online courses? These are questions we hear every day. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to these questions. 

The fact is the answers to all these questions depend on: 

  • Your specific patient population.

  • Any knowledge or skills gaps aides may have.

  • The need for hands-on skills training.

  • Any deficiencies your agency is facing.

We want it to be easy too!

Agencies often call us and say, I need to offer twelve hours of CE training every year. Will you tell me exactly what courses to assign? We get it. You want it to be easy. You want to buy a pre-built package that you can pluck right off the shelf, saving you time and energy so you can move on to other more pressing issues. Well, we want it to be easy too! But we would be doing you, your aides, your patients, and their families a huge disservice if we offered every agency the same cookie-cutter CE program. 

Every agency must take its own personal journey filled with assessment and introspection in order to build a customized, just right CE program. In addition, agencies must remain flexible and responsive enough to change the CE program a little each year as patient needs and training gaps evolve.  

So, how do you choose courses for a 12-hour CE program?

Start with compliance. You have specific topics you must offer. Compliance courses include infection control, disaster planning, patient bill of rights, and confidentiality. Picking these courses from our library is easy. And since each lesson is one hour long, you know youve got four hours taken care of right off the bat. 

Next, look at your states requirements. Does your state require any specific training for the aides on your team? For example, some states require training to prevent sexual harassment, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Other states require a minimum number of hours of training in Alzheimers and dementia care. Plug those in as needed. 

Use the rest of the time to customize your program. This is the fun part! To fill in the remainder of the required 12 hours, look at your patient population. Is there a single diagnosis that seems more prevalent in the patients on your roster? For example: 

  • Do you have commonly serve patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia? Then choose one or more courses from our Alzheimer’s Association-recognized courses.  

  • Maybe you have patients recovering from strokes, heart attacks, orthopedic surgeries, or hospitalization for COPD exacerbations. Your team will appreciate the effort that goes into learning more about these common diagnoses so that they can feel more confident in the care they provide. 

Next, assess your aides’ knowledge and skills. Make a note of any gaps you notice, then plug courses into your CE program that fill the knowledge gaps you discovered. For example, after several site visits with aides and their patients, you notice an alarming trend that many are transferring clients incorrectly, placing themselves and their clients at risk for injury. You note the skills gap and add a course in “Performing Safe Transfers” to your CE program. 

Patients and their families will surely notice the difference when you become more intentional about the CE courses you choose to offer. A well-prepared aide alleviates anxiety, stress, fear, and apprehension while improving patient outcomes, safety, and quality of care. 

Can the entire 12-hour program be online?

In most states, yes. All twelve CE courses can be online. But should they? Online learning is easy to use, efficient, and affordable. Yetit’s not the answer to ALL your training needs. 

The American Society on Aging explains that while online learning is excellent for simple knowledge transfer and testing, it falls short in teaching hands-on clinical skills and decision-making. 

From time to time, the aides on your team will need specific, hands-on training in a supportive environment where they can explore tools, equipment, and care techniques, ask questions, receive feedback, and enjoy the camaraderie of connecting with their peers. Blended learning (a strategy that combines eLearning and in-person teaching) thoroughly supports skills development and decision-making and allows learners to interact with the content and their peers. 

Every agency that subscribes to our eLearning portal automatically qualifies for complimentary PDF inservice topics to build your Blended Learning Plan. 

If you have: 

  • Up to 20 learners, you’ll get 3 free PDFs.

  • Up to 50 learners, you’ll get 6 free PDFs.

  • Up to 75 learners, you’ll get 9 free PDFs.

  • 100+ learners, you’ll get 12 free PDFs.

Each PDF course contains everything you need to teach the class in-person to your entire team. Each topic comes with a learner section and an instructor packet filled with group activities, discussion questions, printables, and more. 

FOR BEST RESULTS: Try to host at least one in-person training session each quarter.  

Final thoughts on building your 12-hr CE program

As you plan your 12-hour CE program, keep in mind one subtle suggestion that CMS slips into the regulations. The statement says: 

“. . . agency is required to maintain documentation that all aides have received at least 12 hours of in-service training during each 12-month period. 

Pay special attention to the phrase, “at least.” That means twelve hours is just the starting point. You can go above and beyond and offer so much more! It’s what you offer beyond those minimum standards that will set your agency apart from the competition. 

Give your staff additional opportunities to learn and grow, both personally and professionally each year. Here are a few suggestions: 

Specialize in Something – In order to care for the increasingly complex needs of an aging population, aides need more targeted, specialized education that prepares them to provide safe and comprehensive care for all the clients they serve. The solution lies in Specialized Learning Paths! 

Specialized Learning Paths are pre-built sets of curricula that focus on common conditions aides encounter with their clients. Our eLearning portal gives you unlimited access to our pre-built learning paths, which you can assign to your team with just one click! You can specialize in topics such as: 

  • Alzheimer’s Disease (8.5 hours)

  • Diabetes Care (7 hours)

  • Behavioral Health (8 hours)

  • And more!

Focus on Soft Skills – Did you know that 77% of employers think “soft skills” are just as critical as technical skills, yet only 31% of employers offer their employees soft skills training? Companies that provide soft skills training enjoy a 250% Return on Investment (ROI) due to higher productivity and retention. 

Assign a few of these “soft skills” courses to your team this year: 

  • The Attitudes and Behaviors of Being a Professional 

  • Enhancing Attention to Detail 

  • Critical Thinking Skills

  • Stress Management Skills

  • Professionalism and Work Ethic

Assign cooking courses – In a recent survey, nearly 90% of administrators reported that they had received cooking-related complaints from their clients. Get your team’s cooking skills up to speed with cooking courses from Caregivers Kitchen. They are a permanent part of our complete eLearning library. Consider adding one of these crucial courses to your CE program: 

  • Get Ready, Get Set, Cook

  • Planning Balanced Meals

  • Mealtime with Diabetes

  • Mealtime with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

  • Mealtime with Cardiovascular Disease

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