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Chronic Disease Education

Don’t Look At Home Health Partnerships As A Have To, But As The Opportunity You Wished You Had Years Ago! How To Have Great Partnerships Without Any Blood, Sweat, Or Tears!

PartnershipsOften times, having a partner in business can be tough.  Navigating the home health and hospice world can be tough just dealing with your own agency.  But once you add in other providers, home health partnerships can seem even tougher.  Let’s look at ways to consider home health partnerships differently.

The Patient Is First And Foremost, Always:

If you consider all the things the healthcare industry must consider today, then it becomes more difficult to keep the patient first in line.  If you really look at the entire industry, the patient is always the first home health partnership.  It is difficult for the patient to receive the best possible care if providers do not work well together.  In addition,  patients have so many different providers that it also means you will work with providers who work very well with you, but not with each other.

Regulatory Struggle:

Agencies have to consider Oasis outcomes, emergent care, re-hospitalization, documentation, electronic records, med reconciliation, and more on a daily basis.  This doesn’t count coordination of care, case conferencing, and making sure staff have time to give the best care. Meanwhile, you have to do everything while under even tighter budgets.

The Home Care Team:

The home health industry requires you to look internally at your own team in order to be a good partner.  How do your own team members work together? Do all the disciplines involved in patient care work together or independently?  It is a contradiction when you think about it.  When clinicians are out in the field, each individual sees the patient separate from one another.  So, it is sometimes difficult to change the mindset if someone has been working independently in the field for years.  The mindset needs to be based on communication and education that focuses on patient care as if all disciplines are side by side working at once.  If you function under the premise that a patient has one care plan, then all disciplines can work towards common goals.  Then, you can develop great home health partnerships.

So, What’s Next:

The most important start is education, education, education.  Chronic disease education needs to be about more than the disease.  It needs to focus on how to manage chronic disease collectively as a team. This includes every discipline that touches the patient.  From the nurse to the physical therapist to the home health aide, everyone must be educated to manage care and not just provide it.  When you improve your system, you become invaluable to other healthcare providers.

Let Us Help With Your Home Health Partnerships:

Kenyon Homecare Consulting can help you with online education as well as on site teaching to improve your processes.  Contact us online or call today at 206-721-5091 for your free 30 minute consultation. We can help with the transition from good to great partnerships focus on a team approach to care.

Start Spreading The News! Home Care Aide Education May Keep You From Spending An Arm And A Leg In The Future!

EducationWhen you think about aide education, most administrators see the cost associated with it. However, if you look at it from a different point of view, then you will see that Home Care Aide Education is key to your home care future.  Let’s look at why it is worth every penny of the investment.

Is Your Home Care Program Trying To Merge Into A Medical Home Model?:

If you consider a medical home model, all entities involved in the physical care of the patient serve very important roles. The home health aide often gets lost in the process.  It is a discipline that is skilled, but the education is often based only on meeting CEU requirements.  It needs to be about true continuing education that promotes growth within the job role. This helps with overall job performance, efficacy, and ultimately, the cost associated with home health aide turnover. Here are some elements to consider in your program:

  • Reporting Requirements:  You may think this is covered in the orientation process, but look at how many things aren’t reported that should be.  If this happens in your agency, then consider a different approach to teaching what is important to report.  If your aides cannot recognize when a patient is starting to decline, then look at how you teach them.
  • Useful Documentation Based On Comprehensive Care Plan: Does nursing really talk the aide through what to look for and expect with the patients? Assuming it is about a bath minimizes the role of the home health aide in patient outcomes. If they don’t know the big picture goals, then how can they
  • Chronic Disease: Education about chronic disease should be a part of orientation and ongoing with yearly competencies.  Care plan goals are need addressed by the aide where they can be. If your CQI program doesn’t track and identify this, then it should,
  • Communication: You educate nurses on how to communicate with physician offices and other providers.  Do you educate home care aide staff on how to communicate necessary information to other members of the interdisciplinary team?

Let Kenyon Homecare Consulting Be Your Answer To Home Care Aide Education:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have extensive home care aide education with a focus on chronic disease.  Let us talk through your program and be the additional help you need to elevate your program.  Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online for your free 30 minute consultation with a senior consultant.

Maybe Right Now You Think Hiring And Retaining Aide Staff Is The Biggest Struggle In Your Home Care Agency. Want To Know The Truth? Home Care Education Is The Real Problem.

educationEvery home care agency today is struggling with hiring and keeping aide staff on board.  It may seem like the toughest thing about the discipline.  Education is often overlooked in the process of retention.  If you don’t look at home care education, then you will not know if you are using this discipline effectively.

Home Care Educational Requirements:

There are many things to consider when you develop your aide education.  You have to consider state requirements, who is paying for services, and whether you are Medicare Certified.  Medicare Certified agencies have strict guidelines regarding training and observation of aide staff.  Private Duty Agencies are not as strict.  So, if an agency does not want to adhere to all training requirements, it must have two separate business lines.  One for Medicare skilled patients and one for non-skilled services.  When you consider reimbursement, it is difficult to remain profitable if you maintain Medicare requirements for those services that do not pay like Medicare.

So, What Do You Do:

Well, the first recommendation is to have the two separate provider numbers to allow yourself flexibility in how quickly you can train and get staff working in the field.  Now, should you want staff to flow between business corps to provide services to both Medicare and other payers, your program will need to include full training as required by the CMS standards.

What Type Of Home Care Education Should You Provide:

Again, certain items will be required related to safe practices of infection control as well as hands on competency of personal care services.  However, the education you provide to aide staff can make you an elite agency.  Does your agency focus on tasks in the orientation process? This may be where you should rethink it.  Tasks are necessary in the process, but critical thinking about patient status is crucial for success in home care of today and tomorrow.

Medical home models have the home care aide a critical cog in the wheel of day-to-day patient care.  If your staff view themselves as “bath aides”, then you cannot expect them to function at a higher level.  Make sure the aides understand how important the role is.  To change the paradigm in your agency, you must look at education that focuses on chronic disease and how to truly manage them.

Home Care Aide Education Is A Phone Call Away:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have chronic disease education for aides that are part of the medical home model paradigm.  Contact us online or call us today at 206-721-5091 for your free consultation. Learn how to the aides you have and grow your program with chronic disease education.  Let us help!

Education Is Not About Attending An Inservice. Home Health Chronic Disease Education Is About Making The Difference In Lives Of Patients, Clients, And Partnerships! Seize The Day!

Never Stop LearningThink about the way you educate clinical staff.  You need to think about the who, what, when, and how often when it comes to education.  And, in home care, chronic disease education needs to be first and foremost in the process.

4 Things To Analyze In Your Agency’s Education:

If you want to make changes, then you have to think about how you do things today to decide what changes to make.

1. Who Needs Education:

All clinical staff need to be considered.  If you have clinical goals, then everyone needs to know them and how you expect to reach them through education. Often times, administrators can forget contracted staff including therapists. Also, home health aides spend the most time with the patients and clients, but often are left out of education on an ongoing basis.

2. What Education:

Chronic Disease needs to be on the top of the list.  You know how much focus in the industry is on the management of chronic disease.  But, your agency may not make it as important as it should be. Chronic disease education is more than just talking about the disease itself. Practical applications for all disciplines is key. You should also consider what your QI program tells you about educational needs.

3. When Education Is Needed:

Training and formalized education should begin upon hire into your agency.  It is much more difficult to change the way an employee functions in the field than it it is to focus on the important things right from the beginning.  Focus on the goals and education related to chronic disease management from the very start, so it remains in the forefront of the mind of each clinician.  Chronic Disease Management cannot be successful without chronic disease education focusing on day-to-day practical applications.

4. How Often Should Education Occur:

Ongoing education is important for all clinical staff.  You need to decide in your agency how often you evaluate the program. Use your successes and shortcomings to update the education and reinvest time in training on an ongoing basis.  If your QI program determines lesser successes with a certain discipline or clinician, look at how you train those individuals specifically. If you witness specific clinicians excel in your program, consider using those individuals in the training process.

Let Us Help You With Chronic Disease Education And Management:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we can help your agency integrate a comprehensive chronic disease management program that includes aide staff.  Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online for your free 30 minute consultation.

How Are You Managing Chronic Disease? Not So Well? Look At Your Chronic Disease Education And Make It The Heartbeat Of A Great Home Health Program!

online learningChronic disease education is super important to make it in home care today.  If you make the education portion of chronic disease management the focal point, then your program can succeed.  The education content is just as important as the program itself. It is not a simple process and will take time, resources, and patience.  However, the payoff is huge moving forward!

Make The Goal Clear:

Chronic disease education isn’t just about the disease, it is about the overall goal of home care.  Yes, it means reduced re-hospitalization and better patient outcomes.  It is also about ACOs, partnerships, and teamwork. But, is the staff really on the same page? Are those just buzzwords they are tired of hearing?  If so, change the approach.  Make sure it is very clear how the management of the disease from all disciplines has to be a coordinated approach to care. If your clinicians understand the difference between disease process teaching and chronic disease management, then you can develop your program around that concept.

  • Include Therapists
  • Include Home Health Aides
  • Make Care Plans Functional For All Disciplines
  • Measure Successes and Revise Plans As Needed
  • Make Training An Ongoing Process

Make Clinical Managers The Gatekeepers To Program Management:

Include training for Clinical Managers for roll-out of the program.  These will be your eyes to successes, shortcoming, and improvements.  So, if you don’t have Clinical Managers approaching the program effectively, then you will struggle.  Schedule ongoing meetings with these individuals to keep the goals at the forefront until it is second nature to them.

Pick Your Program Wisely:

Decide how to best move forward with chronic disease education.  Maybe online is the best approach.  Maybe you complete the teaching as a combination of in-house education and online.  Regardless the approach, make sure it reaches all the clinical staff in a meaningful way to alter the paradigm of how they see themselves in chronic disease management.  Take your time and choose the program the will move you forward.

We Can Help You Succeed!:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have chronic disease education that helps bring your aides into the vital role of chronic disease management.  Call 206-721-5091 today or contact us online to help make your chronic disease program a winner!

Are You Looking To Roll Out Chronic Disease Education In Your Home Care Agency? Does It Feel Like Beginning A Game Of Mouse Trap For The First Time?

Get Started TodayA chronic disease education program is just that. It is a program.  It isn’t an event or a class.  So, let’s take a look at how to truly advance your chronic disease education program into something that works.

Change Your Mindset:

First of all, you may think if you address chronic disease education as part of the orientation process you have done enough.  That is not the home care of today.  Home care is continuing to advance towards the medical home. There will be things completed in home care that would not even be considered 10 years ago.  So, you have to always think in the future to stay in the home health industry.

Start With Your Operations:

You need to complete a SWOT analysis to determine your internal strengths and weaknesses.  By doing so, you can determine what to change to make your program better.  Here are some things to look at in your analysis:

  • Communication Of The Interdisciplinary Team
  • Knowledge Base of All Clinical Employees
  • Internal Chronic Disease Management Protocols
  • Quality Improvement Metrics

Choose An Educational Program

Look at the educational needs of your agency based upon your SWOT and operational analysis.  What disciplines have what deficits? Also, look at how your employees learn.  Do you need face to face education for staff or is online learning suited to your employee population? What is your follow up plan? A good program should allow you to develop and advance staff as skill levels increase.  Your program should include all disciplines and focus on making the aide staff an accountable part of the chronic care team.

Teaching The Aide Staff About Chronic Disease:

The teaching on chronic disease is not focused strictly on the diseases themselves.  Address practical applications based on what is seen in the home health world.  This is so important to make the application of knowledge relevant for clinical staff.  Textbook data given to aide staff does not mean you will have a better chronic disease management team.  Assess the learning of aide staff in practical ways so you can improve your program.  Use case studies of those with chronic disease on service after training has been completed to see how aides put new knowledge to use.  Address these items in your case studies:

  • Has The Quality Of Documentation For The Aide Changed?
  • Has Coordination Between Skilled Disciplines Improved?
  • Do Care Plans Reflect Not Only What The Aides Do, But Also What To Report?
  • Does Aide Staff Report To Nursing On A Routine Basis As Determined By Agency Policy And Patient Status?

Teach, Re-Teach, And Re-address:

Remember this is an ongoing process and therefore, is not one dimensional.  Just like any quality improvement measure, your disease management program should ever evolve and get better.  All clinical disciplines should become better and better at working as a true interdisciplinary team.  If your clinical staff understand the big picture and why operations need to evolve, your outcomes and entire program can finally change.

Do You Need Help Getting Started?: 

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, you can get the help you need to improve your chronic disease education and program.  Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.  Let us get you on the road to disease management success.

Working With New Partners? Let’s Look At Your Home Care Partnerships And How To Be The Sonny And Cher Of The Home Care World!

Home Care PartnershipsWorking with a partner always presents a challenge.  Whether you are in a band, marriage, or a home care business, the partnership is about relationships and meeting mutual needs.  With ACOs and other home care partnerships, you must constantly work on the relationship to make it work. Let’s look at your partnerships and the importance of being a part of the healthcare team.

4 Things To Remember In Being A Strong Home Care Partner:

Sometimes, you can get so focused on your own operations that you forget the comprehensive partnership goals.  Here are 4 things to always consider when working in home care partnerships:

1. Make Partnership Goals Together:

Whether it is a physician office or an ACO, your goals must align.  Of course, all providers want to work to provide high quality care and improve patient outcomes.  However, if you don’t discuss how to best achieve those goals between partners, you may be working very hard and not accomplishing what you both want.

2. Include Staff On Joint Goals:

Again, you are busy and so is staff, but communicating how you will work with partners is crucial.  All clinical and administrative staff need to understand the game plan too.  Don’t decide operational changes without working with those it will directly affect.

3. Measure Progression On A Routine Basis:

Always measure metrics and intangibles that are important to all members of home care partnerships.  Meet up with other partners at set times to discuss the metrics and be willing andopen to address any issues others may have with your agency.


Chronic disease management is a key in all realms of healthcare today.  In order to thrive in home care partnerships, you have to educate your staff on chronic disease.  This means all members of the team.  This includes therapy, nursing, and aide staff.  All members of the clinical team need to know the best practices to manage chronic disease.  Often times, aide staff is overlooked in the skilled clinical picture.  In home care of today and the future, the home care aide is crucial in keeping patients at home and safely managing chronic disease.

Let Us Work With You On Your Home Care Partnerships:

Kenyon Homecare Consulting works with agencies on chronic disease management programs to advance you and your partnership goals.  Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online for your free 30 minute consultation today.

Take A Hard Look At Your Chronic Disease Education And Programs. Are You Part Of The Gold Standard? Do You Want To Be?

paradigm shiftAnyone in home care today knows that chronic disease management is a must, but doing it well is easier said than done.  It begins with solid chronic disease education.  Then, you need a strong internal program for clinical staff to succeed with patient care.

Start With What You Do Now:

So, let’s say the nurse admits the patient who has CHF.  Home care puts in nursing, a home health aide, and physical therapy.   The therapy helps with endurance and aide helps to complete the ADL’s.  Nursing has a packet of CHF education and visit by visit gives it out to the patient after teaching what is on it.  Nursing continues assessment and teaching until the patient is stabilized.  Then, discharge is completed with goals met.  What has been done to manage that disease on an ongoing basis? How will the patient handle it once you walk out the door?

Nurses Cannot Be The Answer To All Things All The Time:

Nurses often feel the need to be all things to all people in home care.  This is not realistic.  The skilled disciplines all have a part in a chronic disease management program.  The important thing to remember is as talk of a patient, you need to communicate there is one care plan for that patient.  Agencies speak of aide, nursing and therapy care plans as though each is a different language.  The tasks related to those care plans may be different, but goals should align. Overlap should be apparent on the task level as well.

One Patient Has One Care Plan:

If physical therapy wants range of motion completed on a patient, there is no reason why the other disciplines shouldn’t be doing the same while in the home.  But, we seem to compartmentalize tasks to just one discipline.  Wound care can be completed by a physical therapist as can med reconciliation.  Home health aides can do ROM and ambulate with the patient.  Just think through traditional roles and decide what can crossover between disciplines.  By changing the paradigm of how you see roles in the home, you can change the outcomes.  It makes sense.  It makes all disciplines more comprehensive and more laser focused on the patient status as opposed to the task itself.  Once each discipline starts “seeing” the patient in the same light, the goals and outcomes align.  This also allows agencies to align goals and outcomes with other providers in ACOs or specialty partnerships.

How To Shift A Paradigm:

This is the toughest part of the entire thing, but it can be done and it has been done.  The first part starts with the education piece.  The present and future of home care means more and more completed within the home than ever.  We are looking at medical homes now in certain areas and shifting everything back out of institutional facilities.  So, the industry has to make all patient care time count.  It is a transition and will not be perfect as you begin it.

Chronic Disease Education Programs:

Chronic disease education for aides is often very basic and does not lead to the aide being a key player in the home health plan of care.  This is the first and biggest misstep.  Teaching the aide about disease specific care and looking past the “bath” is key in chronic disease management.  For example, the aide needs to understand what a change in skin color can mean to someone with heart issues. The aides need to be programmed to be cognizant for subtle changes that come with specific chronic disease. Having a better understanding of the disease will improve the quality of care.

Start with your aide staff.  Educate on a systematic approach to recognizing patient changes and looking past the bath and into the bigger picture.  Work with nursing staff to coordinate directly with aide staff more often.  Look at care plans to make sure chronic disease is addressed.  Make looking at a care plan and really understanding it more of a priority for aide staff.

Kenyon HomeCare Consulting Can Help Make It Happen!:

Whether you have started the process or starting from scratch, Kenyon Homecare Consulting can help with your chronic disease education.   Call 206-721-5091 or contact us online for your free 30 minute consultation today.

They Say Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, But Sometimes Working Together Can Feel Harder! Here Are Ways To Use Your Strengths To End Up On Top Of Home Care Partnerships!

teamSometimes, on paper, collaboration looks like it should be easy.  Right?  However, we don’t live in a perfect world with perfect human beings.  So, it is important when you work in an ACO or other home care partnerships to know how to make life easier.

How Do You Operate And The Partners Operate?:

Internal operations are so important in working in an ACO.  If you don’t collaborate well between your own disciplines, you won’t work well with other healthcare providers.  On the same hand, you may be working with partners who are not as efficient as you are and this can be frustrating for your agency.  Both are equally important to make things work correctly and efficiently to improve patient care. Think about ways you can help staff with the frustrations on both sides of that coin.  Work with the other administrators on improvement of communications and processes.  It will make both providers better if you work through the bumps collaboratively.

How Do You Analyze Your Quality Data?:

There are some truly fantastic quality programs out there.  But, a QI program is only as good as what the agency does with the data.  The process is a continuous loop.  Look at what you track and what the data really does for you.  Are you tracking things you don’t really need to because the data has been consistently high ?  Or, do you have items you track, but are really doing nothing to actively improve numbers?  If so, your quality program is costly with no real return on your investment.

Chronic Disease Programs/ Education:

In order to function well in an ACO, you must have a chronic disease management program that is on top of changes in patient status.  You have to have proactive care plans and not those that react to issues after exacerbation of illness.  This may seem like a common sense statement, but take a look at your care plans for a patient 5 years ago that has CHF.  Does it look just like a patient admitted yesterday?  If so, then evaluate your program and what education staff is doing in the home.  How often is the patient being monitored? And, ALL disciplines need to be involved in the education and the proactive care plan approach.

We Can Help You Get There!:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, our senior consultants can help with program development and education to staff.  Kenyon has great online education for the management of chronic disease.  Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to schedule your free 30 minute consultation on home care partnerships.

The Super Bowl of Home Care is Chronic Disease Education. Train Your Aides Or You Will Drop The Ball Without Any Time Left On The Clock!

Chronic DiseaseYou know that if you want to succeed in home care moving forward, you must manage chronic disease.  But, how much attention are you paying to chronic disease education?  Better yet, how much chronic disease education do your aides get?

Why Your Aide Staff Need To Be One Of The Prime Movers In Chronic Disease:

There has been a big shift in home health over the years.  When Medicare Episodic management came into play, agencies had to look even closer at how many times patient were being seen.  40% of agencies closed in the U.S. when CMS when to the PPS system.  Now, CMS wants the silos of healthcare to go away completely.  In order to make that happen, every discipline must be on the same page for a disease true management program. Leaving the home care aides out is missing a huge piece of the puzzle.  Let’s take a look at how your aide staff should be key players in your program.

  • More Frequent Patient Contact: Your aide staff see these patients more often and have more direct contact on a routine basis.
  • Provide Comprehensive Portion Of The Care Plan: Aides can take vitals and be directed to more in-depth reporting etc.
  • Aides Often Know More About The Patient’s Routine: The aides see so much that is unobserved by other clinicians.

So, What Does That Mean For The Agency?:

This means the home care aide can be an invaluable resource for management of the disease.  Care plans need to include them for routine parts of monitoring and reporting that are within the scope of practice.  Don’t underestimate the value of routine questioning from the RN to the aide about the patient.  As the RN learns to dig in with routine questions, it will also gear the aide into things that need to be observed during visits.  This creates a teamwork environment and teaches the aide how to be more comprehensive in patient care.  It means a change in your process as well as education.

What Education Do You Need To Provide?:

This means you have to take a hard look at your disease management program.  Has it been updated or are you doing the same things you did 10 years ago or longer.  Have you tweaked chronic disease education to staff based upon outcomes?  Also, are you looking to make the aides active in participation?  Many agencies do a basic chronic disease education as part of orientation.  Think back to the last orientation for your job.  How much do you remember?  Probably not a whole lot.   It is no different for the aide staff.  Education on chronic disease management needs to be ongoing so staff keep it in front of them at all times.  It isn’t a one time thing and then you become task focused again.  It is a way to address items with each patient visit to quickly recognize changes as they start to occur.

How Do You Get The Aides To Think About Patient Care Differently?:

You must start with making them a part of the process.  Think about what you do with the patient.  You teach what to report and to address it quickly with the nurse before it is emergent.  The same things you teach the patients should be addressed with the aides so they are aware of what changes may be problematic.  Unfortunately, this is not usually done.  This is a very common sense approach to patient care.  Yes, you will have bumps in the road and things will be not perfect, but outcomes will improve with team engagement.

It IS Possible: 

Kenyon Homecare Consulting Works with agencies on comprehensive disease management programs for aide staff and can help to get your processes in place.  Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online for your free 30 minute consultation.