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Are Your Home Care Policies and Procedures Up-To-Date?

Home Care Policies and Procedures

Not long ago, we had the privilege of doing an organizational assessment in a small rural home care agency. When we asked about the policy and procedure manuals, we were told they were at least 15 years old, and had not been updated.

In the home care business, especially with smaller agencies, it’s easy to overlook the need for well-documented policies and procedures. However, home care policy and procedure manuals are very important for your agency. They provide a framework for your operations, and help ensure you remain compliant with state requirements and industry regulations. A home care manual also makes your values and expectations clear to employees, defines training procedures, and sets administrative policies.

Ginny Kenyon, RN, MN, Principal

Kenyon HomeCare Consulting

The Future Universal Home

Universal Home

 

Continuing on with last week’s blog on technologies, let me present you with the universal home of the future that in the next ten to twenty years will be our reality.

How Will Technology Change Health Care Services In The Home?

The Universal home will have motion sensors, cameras inside and out, with facial recognition.  The house will be wired with a “Siri” type of artificial intelligence (AI) that is much more advanced than it is today.  The roof will have roof tiles that function like solar panels and will be wired into the house electrical grid to provide electricity to the home. [These already exist through Elon Musk’s {Tesla} company and are expected to hit the market this year or next].  Windows will be non-glare that allow for day and night time and will adjust with the outside light to maintain a constant light in the house.  The AI will be trainable to your specific wants and needs. [ again, both already available]

Imagine walking up to your home and have the AI greet you with welcome home, open the door and ask if you need anything or let you know that what you have programed is ready.  Some will want a drink poured and waiting at the wet-bar others may want a snack, or just a recap of all the phone messages that were left for the day.  The AI can be programed to whatever you want.  The house temperature is maintained at whatever you set it and adjusted by the AI as you request.  All orders to the AI will be voice driven and of course voice recognition so only approved voices can direct same as the camera.

Televisions, radios, etc. will be activated by your direction and to the stations you prefer.   Meals will be prepared for you with your preferences and for the number of individuals that will be present.  The fridge will give you a list of what is in the fridge and the AI will place an order with the grocery delivery company for delivery on a specified day.  The house will have a preprogramed sweeper that keeps the floors clean and further in the future you will have a house robot that can load and unload the dishwasher, clean the furniture, do the laundry, fold and put away the clothes, make the bed and any other tasks you need done.

Think how this will change your health care services in the home.  If you think this is fiction, know that in Japan where the caregiver shortage is more severe than ours, they already have developed robots called care-bots to care for their elderly.  It is coming faster than we can even imagine.

Ginny Kenyon, RN, MN, Principal

Kenyon HomeCare Consulting

Importance Of Chronic Disease Education To The Homecare World

Chronic Disease Education

Why Is Chronic Disease Education Important?

Managers and business owners have discovered that basic training doesn’t always prepare students for work in the real world. Is that to say required training isn’t important? Not at all. It simply means that caregivers need continued chronic disease education to stay abreast of constant changes, new medical discoveries and proven outcomes. Then these caregivers will truly impact the world of homecare!

Fortunately, chronic disease education exists to meet this pressing need. The right disease education program enhances every aspect of homecare – your clients, caregivers, and organization.

The Future is NOW!!

technologyLast week I attended the California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH) annual conference. It was an exceptional conference with a lot of great presentations.  I walked away with a couple of themes; technology is moving faster than we ever anticipated, so fast that it is going to be hard to keep up.  Rules and regulations will continue to evolve and Home Health and Hospice as we know it now, will not look or be the same.  I will discuss the different aspect of these topics in future blogs. Today’s focus will be technology.

One of the presentations was facilitated by Craig Falk, who owns Craig Cares, a Home Care agency in California. He has recognized that for clients and families to be able to afford care he needed to implement technology into his care services.  As a result, he has developed a program called “Sensor Safe“, which uses current technologies available such as motion sensors, and sensor pads to help monitor individuals that need monitoring, but not necessarily around the clock attendance.  The program is designed such that if the motion or pad sensors indicate that  the client has moved, say from the bed at night to the bathroom, those movements will be noted.  It there is no additional movement in 20 minutes the system sends an alert that the client may need help. The lack of motion triggers a phone call to the home.  If it is not answered, an Aide is dispatched to check on the client.

This program is in its initial stage and there is more to come from the trials already done.  The limited use so far has documented that one client did in fact need 24/7 care, another client saw that they could reduce their monthly expenditure in half and as a result, a new client was gained for the agency.  Total gain from 5 patients including new ones gained as a result has shown a $300,000 gain for the year for only 5 clients.  More to come when the program is really up and running in its completed state.

 

Ginny Kenyon

Experiencing A Leadership Vacancy In Your Agency?

Leadership

When a vacancy happens in a key leadership or management position, most agencies can cope for a month or two. However, without an interim professional, issues quickly arise and major initiatives go sideways. According to recruiters, it usually takes 5 to 6 months on average to find and fill a leadership position. And if the agency’s location is in a suburban or rural area, it takes even longer.

Most often either the void is filled temporarily with current staff or the duties are divided and spread around. This approach usually results in unintended consequences such as:

  • Employee burn-out decreasing productivity
  • Team member unrest resulting in employee turnover
  • Declining staff moral causing client dissatisfaction
  • Delay of business growth

Usually when things begin to go south, agencies begin to consider an interim executive to fill the gap between the loss of the leader and hiring a permanent replacement. Most agencies don’t realize that a leadership vacancy is the prime opportunity to complete a full organizational assessment. A vital role for any interim executive is to observe staff and suggest and implement necessary process adjustments. Also, it’s the perfect time to implement improvement plans when issues are found. Through experience, we typically discover most problems result from both process and staff issue.