Many agencies that previously had robust educational programming have seen it dwindle amid all the changes in the industry as well as the pandemic. Here is the issue: The need for good chronic disease education and programming still exists. So, we need to look at why the need is still there to provide it and understand why it will cost a lot more in the long run if you don’t do it.
Reasons To Invest The Dollars Now:
In April 2021, the CDC reported that $3.42 of the $3.8 trillion spent on healthcare expenditures are for those with chronic disease and mental health conditions. The most expensive of these conditions for the healthcare industry is diabetes. It is not new that chronic disease management is a problem and something we need to address globally within our industry. The issue for many agencies lies in spending the money to provide the education when many are already trying to adapt to lower profit margins as is. Here are some reasons to consider making the investment in spite of struggles with your bottom line:
- Staff Retention: We see so many agencies with retention issues. Many complaints on exit interviews we see deal with education and training and lack thereof. Your employees go into caring for your patients without specific training on chronic disease or your program specifically. Employees need to feel challenged to do the best work for you and your patients. If you don’t consider the investment to keep this going, then employees tend to stagnate and leave.
- Improving STAR Ratings/ Outcomes: Look at your current rating. When was the last time you saw an improvement in your overall STAR rating? Many agencies have been stuck at 3 to 3.5 for a long time. Have you considered an educational program based on chronic disease and renewed goals for your chronic disease program? Many agencies have the same program they initiated 20 years ago and it has not changed. How does this affect patients being readmitted for chronic disease in your agency?
- Chronic Disease Certification: Consider educational programs that potentially offer chronic disease certification. Giving your staff the ability to become certified gives them a level of accomplishment and pride and value.
- Incentives: Whether you need to streamline your visits, improve patient care, prevent duplication of care, or decrease costs, analyzing your program and making changes that improve your bottom line can mean some profit sharing to employees. If you provide the education and employees get certified, offer incentives that make pushing your chronic disease program forward worthwhile to the staff. Whether that means bonuses, gift cards, days off etc., employees need to know that the extra effort means something.
What If We Don’t Do Anything?
Well, you will continue to struggle. If you critically analyze your chronic disease program now, you probably see a lot of waste in your visits and time. We would bet you probably make too many visits because your disciplines don’t work together towards goals. Communication is probably minimal between the disciplines during the care plan and they speak once therapy says they are discharging and the aide is told not to go after a certain date because nursing is discharging. At the end of the day, the paperwork says goals met, but the patient goals are not really part of that care plan. If you ask your patients if goals were met, would their answers match yours? As efficiency continues to be so vital, you can’t make unnecessary visits. When the chronic disease program is tuned into all clinical disciplines, then everyone works collectively on certain goals all at the same time instead of everyone functioning independent of one another. There is one patient involved and everyone should work from one care plan focused on the goals of that patient regardless the discipline.
Let Kenyon Homecare Consulting Help You Reach Your Goals:
Kenyon Homecare Consulting can offer you many things to improve your chronic disease program. We can provide online education and certification to your clinicians. We also work to implement coordinated care planning and visit planning for the agency collectively. If you haven’t invested time or resources to your chronic disease education or in-house program, then the time is now. You will spend a lot more money in the long run if you don’t invest now. Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to see how we can help you!