Home health and home care agencies face a number of challenges, from recruiting and retention to training and compliance. To better understand the specific challenges, and potential solutions, we reached out to ten home health and home care agency executives and asked them to share their biggest challenges, and how they overcame them.
Read on to learn how today’s home health and home care agencies are successfully solving the most common problems.
10 Execs Share Their Top Agency Challenges
7 Challenges in Home Health and Home Care Agencies
Most of the greatest challenges in home health and home care involve people — caregivers, clients, and administrators. Let’s take a look at seven common problems and some strategies for resolving them.
Caregiver turnover in home health and home care is around 60%, with some agencies exceeding 100%. As a result, agencies are often short-staffed, which puts additional strain on caregivers, negatively impacts morale, and limits the ability to take on more clients.
One of the home care experts we talked to said her agency is focusing on boosting employee morale, in order to improve retention:
“We have implemented various methods including a caregiver of the month initiative, taken our time to learn more about our caregivers on a personal level, and work to match them with clients who would be a great fit for them and their personality …”
- Caroline Glassell, Director of Care Management, Marin Home Care
Another one of the most common challenges in home health and home care is caregiver engagement. In other assistive care settings — like long-term care facilities and rehab centers — caregivers benefit from interacting with their peers. But home health and home care employees work independently, which can be an isolating experience.
Improving engagement can help caregivers feel more invested in their work. One of the experts we interviewed said his agency has implemented a “care management” initiative, which is staffed by nurses.
“Included in their role is the professional mentorship & development of the caregivers in the homes of our clients and at our corporate campus.”
- Jeff Grossman, Founder & COO, Commonwise Home Care
With pandemic-related restrictions that arose in 2020, and the need to keep both caregivers and clients safe, home care agencies struggled with onboarding and training. To ensure caregivers receive state-approved training, some agencies are turning toward third-party training providers with fully remote programs.
One home care administrator said that partnering with CareAcademy allowed her agency to provide essential training, especially for some of the most prevalent issues in home health and home care today.
“For example, dealing with consumers with dementia, CareAcademy offers several intuitive classes which ease the caregiver’s anxiety when caring for consumers with dementia. Overall, we are very satisfied with partnering with CareAcademy.”
- Enid Knightner, Administrator, Faithful Home Care Solutions
Budget-conscious family members who are concerned about the cost of home health and home care may spend time “shopping around” for the most affordable solution. Agency administrators may then be challenged to explain that cost alone is not the best way to choose a home health care provider.
An owner of a home care agency in Boston told us that when considering the value of his agency’s services, he focuses on the qualities he would demand if searching for his own parents’ care: A thorough employee background check, certified caregivers, proper insurance, and other factors.
“For me, to answer the right way to approach these things is to consider what I would want for my own parents. I keep them in mind as I navigate setting standards for my agency … If it’s not good enough for my parents, it’s not good enough for anyone else’s.”
- Mark Friedman, Owner, Senior Helpers Boston and South Shore
Home health and home care operators, whether franchisees or independent owners, often take on most if not all of the administrative tasks themselves. When their agency begins to grow, the workload can quickly become overwhelming, leaving little time for important tasks like caregiver onboarding.
One home care CEO described such an experience, saying she often worked seven days a week in order to keep up with administrative functions. She realized that without help, she wouldn’t be able to truly focus on clients. So she decided to hire an employee and invest in new software.
“It became apparent I needed to invest in my company. … First, I decided to hire an office person to oversee important but not urgent matters. Matters that only need my approval once completed. At the same time, I decided to acquire the wonderful services of HHAeXchange’s EVV Solution, a homecare management software system. The help of this incredible software made my company more efficient and freed up a ton of time …”
- Cheri Tindell, CEO, Tindell Care LLC
Clients and caregivers may have different backgrounds or cultures that might make interpersonal connections challenging. This is one of the issues in home care that might be underreported, as clients and caregivers may not recognize when a cultural disconnect is impacting their relationship.
A home care CEO told us that this is a problem his agency recognizes and has been working to resolve.
“Caregivers frequently provide care for people of different ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and ethnicities, but often without having the tools to navigate the challenges that can arise from this dynamic. For our agency, the first step has been to start talking about it openly amongst the entire team. From these discussions, we are now investing in training that will prepare our caregivers for these difficult situations.”
- Chip Measells, CEO, Stowell Associates
Documentation and compliance
A common theme among the experts we talked to was a need for appropriate compliance training. That includes continuing education for licensed caregivers.
CareAcademy provides the expert-level training that home health and home care agencies need to meet state requirements, inspire consumer confidence, and ensure their employees are offering the best standard of care. We offer training for caregivers and office personnel, as well as an educational video library our customers can access at their convenience.
With the analytics we provide, administrators can see who has completed training, generate training logs for audits, and make sure employees are keeping up with continuing education.
Operating a home health or home care agency can be equally challenging and rewarding. With the support of CareAcademy, you can focus on developing your presence in your community and working toward your long-term objectives — we’ll take care of the training.
Our caregiver training prepares your employees for the difficult and delicate situations they might encounter, and helps them enhance the skills and knowledge they already have. And because these trainings are fully remote, the cost-per-provider is much lower than in-person training.
If you’re looking for a better way to train, engage, and retain your employees, we’d love to work with you. Take a look at our course offerings — we’re ready to help you!