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Getting Your Home Care Agency Off to a Successful Start, Part 4: Establish Strong Human Resources

Most people acknowledge the importance of their Home Care Human Resources (HR), but fail to invest the time and the money needed to really support the department. For an agency to become successful, human resource must become a priority. Whom you hire becomes you to your customer.

To assure you are hiring and retaining the very best, here are several steps you can take:

1. Develop a profile that accurately portrays the type and characteristics of the caregiver you want to represent your home care agency. For instance, if you decide to specialize in dementia services, the characteristics of the caregiver are going to look different than if you are specializing in rehab services. For the dementia patient/client, you want a caregiver who is patient and calm; someone who can tolerate the same question over and over and softly redirect the client/patient when they become agitated. For rehab services, the caregiver needs to be more directive, encouraging, and supportive of the client/patients’ progress in their behaviors and words. So your profiles are going to be very different depending on the services you are offering. Once you have developed that profile, only hire to the profile. Do not make any exceptions!

2. Develop ads to elicit the right candidates for employment. Depending on where the business is located, there are several options for ad placement. If you are hiring home care aides, Craig’s list and Monster.com have been successful recruitment sites for some; others find their local papers give them the best results. Another successful resource for ad placement is a career magazine such as Today’s Careers, if it’s published for your location. If you are hiring professional staff, such as LPN’s or RN’s, there are several sites on line that specialize in health care professionals. Additionally you may be able to recruit you’re your local community college. Your local newspaper can also be a resource for ad placement for professional staff.

3. Interview for the behavioral traits and knowledge you desire. If you’ve run an agency or been in business for a while, you know that meeting the employees profile is just the first step. Of equal importance are the behavioral traits that the potential employee embodies. These are sometimes very hard to elicit in the interviews. We highly recommend using Steven Tweed’s Caregiver Quality Assurance test. You can find information at CaregiverQuality.com. The test is validated and assures accuracy of findings. Additionally, you will need to determine the knowledge base of the potential employee. There are several tests on the market place that can assist you. At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we have developed a 50 question test available to our clients to assist with determining the basic understanding of diseases and fundamentals of care. Additionally, the test includes a content analysis so you can clearly see what the caregiver understands and what they do not. The candidate must pass by 80% to be considered eligible to continue in the hiring process. This test and answer sheets can be obtained by contacting Kenyon HomeCare Consulting. By using the resources available, and having a well-developed two person interview process, you can be assured you are getting the best caregivers to meet the needs of your specific home care client/patient caseload.

4. Get your new employees off to a strong start with a thorough orientation program. Your orientation program is the first in an on-going series of continuing education to introduce your new employees to your unique home care client base. Because of the variances between agencies, the orientation program for one agency will look very different from another that offers different services. In addition to any service specialty run by your home care agency, the orientation must also include a review of both the federal and state rules (if you are licensed) governing your home care agency, your customer service expectations of your new employees, and the procedures for payroll, documentation, client confidentiality, emergency care, the agency disaster plan, and your requirement for continuing education. Your orientation should fit the specifics of your home care agency and relay requirements and education your new employees will need to successfully perform their duties. A yearly calendar of in-service training specific to the care needs of your clients is tremendously beneficial in helping achieve your care giving goals.

5. Establish and maintain proper employee files. A system to maintain up to date required documentation in each personnel file is an absolute must. All time-sensitive documents that expire, such as professional and drivers licenses, CPR certification (if you require it), evidence of current automobile insurance, and proof of on-going in-service training must be monitored and obtained to keep employee files current. Failure to maintain employee files can have consequences such as citations by licensing bodies if your agency is licensed, which can decrease the value of the agency.

The strength of the Human Resources of your agency can add value or decrease your agency’s value. Build it right from the beginning and maintain the investment in the future. If you are struggling on how to build the HR component of your business and need consultation assistance, contact Ginny Kenyon at Kenyon HomeCare Consulting.

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