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Missing Improvement In Chronic Disease Outcomes? Start With The Right Education And Finish With A System In Place So Your Agency and Patients Can’t Lose!


Several years back, the home health industry was really pushing for chronic disease outcomes based upon the astronomical costs associated with chronic disease. However, in recent years, there has been so many other things that required agency focus. In the mix, chronic disease and education has gotten lost from the forefront of clinical care. So, now it is time dial back on clinical operations and consider the efficacy of your chronic disease program.

Look At What You Have Now:

Most chronic disease programs consist of staff being educated on hire and given the protocols with patients. So, aides get told about signs and symptoms and what to report and that is really where it ends. Nurses are taught some pathophysiology as a review along with the teaching packets or clinical pathways your agency previously developed (possibly over a decade ago). Often times therapy disciplines are not included in the chronic disease management program in your agency. Am I right? Meaning, most agencies do not make therapy an active participant in the chronic disease program.  This is normally something seen across the board whether therapy disciplines are on staff or contracted. When you consider this last paragraph, do you see where we are going to head next?

The Whole Team Is Integral In Successful Disease Management:

That’s right. If your program looks like what the last paragraph pointed out, you have seen no meaningful improvement in outcomes. It also means you are probably making more visits than necessary. So, it ultimately costs you more money and doesn’t provide the outcomes the agency or the patient desires. Time to do things differently and focus back on the comprehensive care of the patient. It begins with the right education and ends with employees knowing from your agency exactly how to implement that into practical focus on the patient. This means the entire team. Each discipline should be engaged in chronic disease. We minimize the effect of the home health aide and therapies in implementation of successful chronic disease management. We shouldn’t. By making this a focus only for nursing, you miss out on the care, assessment, and monitoring that can be done by other disciplines. The biggest mistake agencies make is paying for educational programs with no follow up as to how to transition that into daily practice. This is why you need to consider the right program.

Look At The Individual As Well The Agency For Education:

A good chronic disease educational program teaches not only the individual clinician about the disease, but also focuses on the agency and how to put a successful program into place. After any educational program, clinicians are normally energized about what can be done to make a difference for patients. If the clinicians return to the agency with the same program in place as before the training, then the knowledge doesn’t go anywhere. So, what’s the point? You have spent the money with no return on investment. Make the dollars you spend count. Commit to a program that changes the individual clinician as well as the agency approach to patient care from the home health aide to the nurse to the therapist. No visit on a chronic disease patient should not have coordination or care and a specific focus for the discipline related to the chronic disease itself.

Let Us Help With Your Chronic Disease Goals:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we help agencies provide high quality care that is patient focused on outcomes with financial success. Give us a call and we can talk about our chronic disease education program and how it could fit with your overall agency goals. Whether you are looking for on-site education or online resources, Kenyon can help. Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online for your free 30 minute consultation with a senior consultant.

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