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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!

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!

How Chronic Disease Education Makes You A Better Home Care Agency

chronic disease managementOur world of healthcare is changing big time.  Chronic Disease Education is on the forefront considering how much these comprise our overall healthcare costs.  Now, let’s look forward and see how home care can truly be the primary care for the patient instead of inpatient facilities.

How to Change Home Care Into Primary Healthcare

15 years ago, a forward thinker in healthcare believed hospitals will only be ERs and ICUs by 2020.  It was thought that all other care would be in the home.  The problem is that care is still provided in the hospital that CAN be at home.  To be the future of healthcare, several things must change.

1. Restructure How We Provide Services

Right now, health care “silos” are the buzzword.  All providers need to eliminate them.  However, even community based care functions this way.  Skilled versus non-skilled services are separate.  Licensed home health versus Medicare home health has to be separate.  And, this doesn’t even consider the completely different ballgame of Hospice.  Moving forward, there must be transparency with once license throughout the continuum.  With CMS granting permission for Medicare Advantage Plans to include hourly services as a benefit, we are moving in the right direction.  This is one step closer to one organizational system delivering all services.

2. The “Team” Needs To Change

Teams in home care currently consist of nurses, aides, social workers and therapists.  The future includes hospitalists, acute care nurses, respiratory therapy and more.  The comprehensive home health team will consist of 3 different parts moving together to manager the patient as follows:

  • The Acute Team: These clinicians accept the patient from the ER or ICU into the home care environment.  Members of this team will be similar inpatient acute care.  MDs, RN Case Managers, LPNs,  PTs, and Aides etc..  The level of care is more intense at this level in the home.
  • The Sub-Acute Team: This team is what we typically see in home health services now.  Nurses, Therapists, Aides, and Social Work provide sub acute care.
  • The Chronic Care Team: This team is so important in the future of home care.  This team consists of an RN Case Manager and aides educated and certified in the chronic diseases seen by the chronic care team.  This is key to moving forward.

3. Chronic Disease Education On All Levels

This is the most important step.  Agencies need to invest heavily in chronic disease education for all caregivers.  Right now, most advanced education is provided to nurses and therapists.  Soon, the aide staff will need that advanced level of understanding to provide chronic care within the home.  This allows the caregiver staff to speak the same language as nursing.  Yes, this is a big investment in education and orientation.  Courses will need to be in-depth and not basic like what is currently in place.

The basic structure of chronic disease education should include, at a minimum, the following:

  • What is the Disease?
  • How is it Diagnosed? (initial testing and routine monitoring)
  • Major Treatments
  • Medication used to Manage the Disease
  • Symptom flags for potential exacerbation

Let Us Help You Move Forward

Webinar Start up agencyWe believe the future of home and community-based services will be from acute to chronic disease management on an ongoing basis.  We need to look at our patients and realize that the aide staff need to part of an elite team of clinicians caring for them.  An elite team of those certified in management of chronic diseases recognizes problems of the patient sooner and understands what wheel in the cog they represent to truly manage the patient.  We truly believe that this will mean your agency will be a partner for the new Medicare Advantage Plans.  The ACO’s will want the ability to achieve cost savings and patient outcomes required today.

To see the results of an organization invested in Certified Chronic Disease Training and the response from referral sources, read the attached white paper.

If you want help moving forward with this process, contact us online or call 206-721-5091 for your free 30 minute consultation today!

Lose Out If You Don’t Educate on Chronic Disease

EducationFor years, nurses were educated on care and curative measures to stabilize patients. That was 30 to 40 years ago. In the early 60s through to the mid-80s,  RNs and LPNs were the caregivers at the bedside. That changed when CNAs [Certified Nursing Assistants] were introduced. Unfortunately, the education on disease specifics was not part of the training.  CNAs provided only personal care services and therefore did not need education about anything other than the basics.  As healthcare budgets of became more and more constrained, aides assumed more overall care of the patients.  However, education remained unchanged for these valuable caregivers.

Why Chronic Disease Education Is So Important for Paraprofessionals

What we know is that everyone involved in patient care needs to talk the same language.  Since CNAs are the ones who see the patient the most, many rehospitalizations could be prevented if they were educated as to disease specifics to report. Yellow and red flags for individual patients should be a part of the routine plan for the aide to observe for and report.

With the advent of ACOs, it is critical for managers to re-evaluate the education level of staff and train accordingly. ACOs look for partners who prevent hospitalizations. In the US, a hospitalization can cost anywhere from $1,791 to $2,289 or more per day. If average length of stay is approximately 4.5 days, this is an average cost of $10,400. For Chronic Diseases, the stay can sometimes be a day or two longer. However, many chronic disease patients end up in an extended care facility until the episode is fully resolved. The average stay at a facility is currently about 272 days in the year. Sometimes, this is two different episodes of stay. The average cost to the plan is about $225/day [US News] or $61,200 per patient per year.  Unnecessary re-hospitalizations must be prevented .  Saying it is crucial is an understatement!

ACOs and other entities require home health agency partners have a track record that manages chronic disease patients at home. Exacerbations are recognized early and allow for treatment at home. To do this, all caregiving staff must be certified in these chronic diseases. Failure to provide chronic disease education may mean referrals will go somewhere else. Referrals will be fast tracked to those that actively manage and keep these patients home.  As the ACOs gain strength, we expect to see more and more pressure on partners [doctors, home health etc.] to reduce costs. This means agencies that are partnered with the ACO must focus on prevention. You may find the money you saved in training fly out the door ten fold as referrals decrease.

Let Us Help You Get There

The time to start is now. Evaluate chronic diseases accounting for most hospitalizations in your area. Educate staff to those chronic diseases and keep data tracking what you do to educate staff.  This shows your partners that you are committed and the one they want to partner alongside.  Contact Kenyon Homecare Consulting at 206-721-5091 today for your free consultation and let us help you get the outcomes you want!

5 Ways Cardiac Nurses Help Manage A Homecare Chronic Disease Program?

chronic diseaseCurrently, CDC says 80 million Americans suffer from cardiac disease or chronic disease. 1.5 million Americans suffer heart attacks annually. With serious heart conditions in the U.S.,  a good homecare agency benefits from programs dedicated to cardiac care. To have that program, you need cardiac nurses on staff.

What Roles Do Cardiac Nurses Fill?

Nurses at the “primary” RN level are still highly trained. Many of them hold certification in cardiac care. Cardiac nurses are skilled in every step of both acute and chronic care. From time of diagnosis and treatment to prevention and education, a well trained cardiac nurse is integral in education, treatment, and prevention.

How Cardiac Nurses Can Help Your Homecare Agency

Cardiac nurses are (like the whole healthcare industry) moving more and more into homecare settings. Whether starting up a home health agency or looking to branch out into cardiac and chronic disease management/care, cardiac nurses are key assets. But how can cardiac nurses help manage your homecare cardiac program? Here are 5 important ways:

1. Develop ideal cardiac intervention and plan of care goals.

By reviewing all patient data, cardiac nurses develop more realistic, patient-centered goals and care plans. Ongoing monitoring then allows nurses to better adjust the plan of care and interventions as needed.

2. Educate your other clinicians and act as a constant resource on “heart matters.”

A well trained cardiac nurse educates staff and patients on all issues related to prevention, diagnosis, and management of cardiovascular conditions. Staff nurses are better equipped to provide high-level care to those with congestive heart failure, hypertension, and other common heart conditions. But don’t expect your other nurses to magically become cardiac RNs themselves without the full training. That’s why your cardiac specialist acts as the go-to within your agency for all clinical cardiac-patient management issues.

3. Improve communication with cardiac specialty physicians.

Reporting assessment data, recommended care, and prescriptions from a cardiac specialist are best done by another cardiac specialist. You save time and avoid potential errors by having an in-house cardiac nurse handle physician communications. Chronic disease management is crucial to home health success.  Being able to communicate well with cardiac practices is key.

4. Boost Your Agency’s Marketing Efforts

Your current and prospective patients feel secure knowing you have a cardiac specialist on-staff.  Past clients will refer other people because of it. And hospitals, MD offices, and cardiac clinics want to work with agencies possessing cardiac expertise.

5. Focus Extra Attention on High-risk Conditions

When you need someone for high-risk patients such as those out of the hospital from heart surgery or who have coronary heart disease, assign cardiac nurses to these cases. In the final analysis, a cardiac nurse on-staff will improve outcomes for cardiac patients, increase retention and referral rates, and boost your bottom line and help prevent re-hospitalization.

To learn more about how your homecare organization can benefit from having cardiac nurses and other specialists on-staff, feel free to contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting today by calling 206-721-5091 or by filling out our online contact form.

Manage Chronic Diseases Properly Or Pay Royally

Chronic DiseasesThe home health system has grown in recent years, and is expected to continue. One factor driving growth is chronic diseases and their high cost. Heart failure, type 2 diabetes, asthma, arthritis, osteoporosis, and other chronic conditions are present in 80% of elderly. 2/3 of older adults have two or more chronic diseases. This led hospitals and other providers to rely on homecare to reduce inpatient stays and cost.

Chronic Disease Management Vital to Home Health’s Future

Effective chronic disease management (CDM)programs is important for home health agencies. This is an opportunity to expand client base, enhance reputation for high-quality care, and ultimately boost bottom line.

Opportunities to benefit patients and our healthcare system also lie in the following:

  • Reduction of re-hospitalizations and emergent care with proper daily chronic disease management.
  • Minimizing patient impact of chronic conditions the patient to enjoy more and suffer less. Care delivered at home provides more privacy and freedom for an active life.
  • Education is huge in the CDM program and provides patients the tools to self-manage chronic conditions. Caregivers are also integral to oversee aspects that cannot be self-managed.
  • Homecare remains the secret weapon to decreasing healthcare costs. This is true for costs incurred by providers and patients.

CDM Education Key to Homecare Success

Lack of quality CDM programs potentially eliminate revenue and profits. Poorly managed chronic conditions lead to higher service utilization cost, decreased reimbursement, and possible exclusion from future referrals. Thus, CDM programs are key to future success of every homecare provider.

Investing in CDM education allows agencies to provide positive outcomes to chronic disease patients. Clinicians with general RN, PT, and OT experience is just not enough. There are complexities in chronic disease homecare programs that need specific protocols and proper care coordination.

Disease management education can be in-house, online, or by class at a physical location. Once your clinicians are educated chronic caregivers, your agency patient can provide better outcomes and lower costs. High-quality care increases client retention and leads to referrals with opportunity for expansion.


To benefit from managing chronic disease instead of suffering from it, clinicians need intensive disease management education. Lower costs, higher revenues, better care, and increased growth depend on it.

To learn about educational opportunities in chronic disease management, contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting today at 206-721-5091 or fill out our online contact form. (Also learn how to improve medical coding in-house or why outsourcing may be a better solution.)

Does Your Agency REALLY Manage Chronic Diseases?

It’s often difficult determining whether your home health agency succeeds in specific areas. In Managing Chronic Disease, weakness can be challenging from inside the organization.

Evaluating Chronic Disease Management Successchronic disease

With overwhelming chronic disease in our country, management is crucial for growth of any home care organization. How do you know your agency is doing it well enough? Performing a thorough evaluation of your agency’s operations and procedures is the only way to truly comprehend where you stand with chronic disease management. Here are five questions to ask.

1. Does your agency keep up with the times?

Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) are upon us. Offering successful chronic disease care depends more and more on a thriving ACO. Joining an ACO is more complicated than it sounds. The first step in successful chronic disease management is preparing your team for that REALLY means.

2. Are team members well-informed?

Effective chronic disease care requires effective “education.” Knowledge is integral when serving clients with specific needs relating to chronic disease. Clinical staff must understand warning signs, medication side effects, and common symptoms. Do they? And, how does your agency evaluate core competency after teaching is completed?

3. Is the clinical staff following proper protocols?

Sometimes, small errors slip through the cracks. Maybe, staff forgets to document an important fact about a client or report changes before a client goes to the ER. To succeed with chronic disease care, tighten your protocols . Enforce protocols regularly—including those that affect chances of joining an ACO.

4. How long has it been since your agency revised its procedures?

If you have clear-cut, well-written policies and procedures that get updated regularly and have every piece of vital information your agency could ever need, that’s great news. For everyone else it’s time to review your procedures to see what works and what doesn’t. Is there anything you could do more effectively? Take time to determine what needs changed to provide the best possible chronic disease outcomes.

5. Does management take advice from outside sources?

As mentioned earlier, it’s challenging to see weaknesses within your organization. You’re often too involved. Calling in outside reinforcements is a great way to determine where your agency stands. Whether it’s consulting, training and/or education, an expert in the home health field can help your agency grow and thrive.

How Kenyon HomeCare Consulting Helps with Chronic Disease Management

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, our expert consultants provide agencies with thorough organization assessments, leadership training, hiring assistance, interim management services, and much more. Additionally, home care agencies often take advantage of our top-notch caregiver training, Chronic Disease University. To learn how we can improve your chronic disease care, reach out to us today.

How to Successfully Partner with an ACO

With changing Medicare reimbursement protocols, home health agencies join Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) to promote growth. The benefits are enhanced client experience, quality outcomes, and financial incentives for providers.

Before you can partner with an ACO, specific guidelines must be met. Here’s how to prepare for successful partnerships.ACO

Tips for ACO Partnership

These are important for every agency, but even more vital when working toward ACO membership.

Here are five ways to achieve a successful partnership

1. Improve Client Care with Elite Staff

Caregivers are crucial to client satisfaction, which is a key requirement for inclusion in an ACO. To improve client satisfaction, provide chronic disease training. Chronic disease management is vital for home care clients. Each caregiver must be able recognize warning signs, manage symptoms, and execute treatment protocols properly to provide successful patient outcomes.

2. Prepare Management for Medicare Protocols

Management must function like a well-oiled machine. To maintain ACO membership, managers must be organized, detailed, and goal-oriented and continually progress toward quality outcomes. When preparing to partner with an ACO, agencies can benefit from a management consultant to shoulder additional (temporary) management tasks or to guide current managers in the right direction.

3. Evaluate Your Agency’s Strengths and Weaknesses

The first step toward successfully joining an ACO is evaluating agency strengths and weaknesses. See where you thrive and where you need help. Bringing in outside professional help to perform an organizational assessment offers an objective perspective, often revealing things not seen before.

4. Reach out to Local Healthcare Professionals

Partnerships only thrive when healthcare providers work together toward a common goal; the care of patients. To prepare to join an ACO, improve communications with other healthcare professionals involved in patient care. Find out where your agency can improve coordinating with other providers.

5. Rethink Your Marketing Plan

Positioning your agency as a leader in this arena gives you an in with ACO. What works and doesn’t work in your marketing plan? Again, an outside consultant can give a fresh perspective. He or she is experienced and knows marketing strategies to establish your agency as an invaluable partner in the community.

Working with Kenyon HomeCare Consulting to Prepare for ACO Inclusion

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we can help you achieve your goals. Reach out to us and schedule your consultation with one of our skilled professionals.