If you follow this blog, you know that we have been focusing on private duty as our industry moves closer and closer to a true medical home model. With that comes looking closely at what private duty or non-skilled homecare means in that world. Typically private duty is not seen in the light of the medical home model because our brains silo skilled versus non-skilled services. That’s a mistake. Homecare services are pivotal in making sure we can keep patients home and not have them in institutional settings when they can be managed elsewhere. Let’s look at how homecare owners need to look differently at how they market services to develop partnerships for the future.
It Starts With Data:
Obviously, the tracking of data for private duty is different. Those in the skilled home health and hospice world know CQI and QAPI data as well as what quality initiatives should exist. However, private duty agencies do not have the same requirements. They aren’t looking at emergent care and unplanned hospitalizations the way a skilled home health does. Now I ask, why not? Although these things don’t have to be tracked because of the nature of the services and the payers involved, they are still a huge marketing tool for your agency. Why wouldn’t you want to know how many patients of your end up in the hospital regardless of why? Let’s consider a couple different scenarios where the patient ends up in the hospital:
- Widow, 77 year old female, CHF history: This client is receiving aide services through the local council on aging for a total of 5 hours a week. She also receives services by paying privately for 9 hours per week. So, you provide an aide 2 hours a day 7 days a week. She ends up in the hospital after an exacerbation of CHF
- 75 year old male, Type 1 Diabetes, above the knee amputee who you see 3 hours a day 5 days per week. He ends up in the hospital over the weekend related to uncontrolled blood sugar readings with an altered mental state.
You may be wondering how knowing this really makes a difference for your private duty since both presented a skilled need for intervention. Well, the point is to start looking at what you can do even as a non-skilled agency to help these patients stay stay at home. Does your aide staff do medication reminders? Are they taught to check medi-boxes to see if meds were taken? This is within scope of practice for them to observe and report what is seen. Maybe, if the non-skilled staff were instructed to record the patient’s blood sugar readings between each visit made, the RN case manager could have seen a change in the blood sugar before the patient was altered. Then, you can intervene by referring to skilled home health agencies prior to admission to the hospital.
The above examples were those directly related to hospitalization, but tracking other outcomes can lead to referrals. The same home health agency who received a referral for your diabetic client because you were on top of medications being missed will be the one they want to manage their patients who need private duty. In that same vein, if you are tracking outcomes, it allows you to promote your success differently than others. You may not be looking at skilled CQI the same way because of the demographic of your patients, but showing that your agency is tuned into hospitalization or injuries and infection can change how referral sources see you. The point is that you can prove your value much as the skilled programs have to do. It can allow you to partner with skilled agencies for quality initiatives and let other referral sources know you are serious about quality and client care.
Let Us Help You Get There:
If you are looking to update a marketing plan or want to move forward with quality initiatives and outcomes tracking, Kenyon Homecare Consulting can help. Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to see how we can help you begin your path to the best seat in the house that homecare built!