Like all industries, running a home care agency comes with several challenges – whether you’re an experienced home care agency owner looking to improve operations or an entrepreneur establishing your business for the first time. Getting informed about these common problems with home health care can help you avoid major headaches, save money and make the best use of your precious time.
Here are some of the most common challenges cited by home care agencies – and how you can prevent them:
1. Scheduling miscommunications
As former agency owners ourselves, our team at FirstVisit knows how challenging it is to make a schedule that keeps managers, clients and caregivers happy. Many schedulers spend hours revising staff assignments between last-minute call-offs, fluctuating staff availability, client-caregiver compatibility, and new client requests. Many of our clients would say scheduling is the biggest problem at their agency.
But it doesn’t have to be.
While many home care organizations use stand-alone scheduling software or Excel to manage visits, there is a better way. Many agencies save 1 – 2 hours per day by switching to a full-service home care software platform that includes efficiency-boosting scheduling features such as push notification shift offers, mobile schedule viewing and complete integration with client and caregiver profiles.
2. Trouble finding quality employees
Businesses across every industry have been challenged to fill large amounts of open roles since 2020. And there’s been an undeniable disproportionately large impact on home care agencies. It’s challenging home care organizations, from start-ups to public-traded enterprises. It’s particularly tough to fill vacant visits amid staff shortages given the soaring demand our industry is currently experiencing.
How can you improve your response to this common problem with home care agencies? Many organizations have increased their hiring funnel by:
- Writing benefit-focused job descriptions – Caregiving is a calling for many. In a purpose-driven line of work, it’s essential to communicate your agency’s values in job postings, on your website and through your social media to attract the best applicants.
- Going virtual-first for interviews – Remote recruiting is here to stay, even when hiring for in-person roles. Requiring in-person interview attendance can be a significant barrier to effective hiring between finding childcare, lost wages and commuting. Offer Zoom interviews, when possible, to increase your application conversion rate.
- Building a referral network – Your employees are likely the best source of talent that you’re not using. Create an incentive program for employees to refer their friends or past colleagues. This will yield more qualified candidates and reduce demands on your management team.
3. Maintaining client satisfaction
Client service is a delicate part of running an agency. Many leaders find it can be a tricky balance to keep visits staffed with clients’ preferred caregivers. But it’s essential to ensure clients are happy for retention. While caregiver turnover gets the majority of the press when it comes to common problems with home health care, many agencies find client turnover to be just as much of a challenge.
So what’s the secret sauce to keeping clients – and their families – happy with your agency’s care for longer? Personalization.
And the key to personalization? Technology.
Agencies should ensure they’re using a software program with client management tools that help you seamlessly coordinate care between clients, caregivers, management and family members. While you don’t need a million bells and whistles, some essential tools for better service include customizable care plans, client-caregiver matching and detailed client profiles.
4. High caregiver turnover
According to research from Home Care Pulse, caregiver turnover hit an all-time of 76% in 2021, jumping up from 57% in 2020. The organization expects the rate to stay flat in 2022. While this is cautiously good news for home care agency owners, this common problem in home health care will continue to present headaches for leaders this year and beyond.
Here’s what you can do to combat high caregiver turnover:
- Offer higher wages when possible – We recognize home care is a price-sensitive industry, so this may not always be possible. But private duty home care agencies may have the leverage to charge slightly higher rates to pass on better wages to their employees, ensuring higher quality and better continuity of care for clients.
- Communicate better – Reduce friction at work by giving your caregivers all the information they need at their fingertips with a mobile care worker app. FirstVisit’s app includes schedules, shift offers, integrated directions and all the information your team needs about every client.
- Give caregivers the schedule they want – We know scheduling is tough. Even before you add in the call-offs, shift swaps and no-shows. But giving your team the hours and visits they want will keep them happier and keep them longer. Learn more about how you can improve your home care scheduling best practices.
5. Staying organized
Home care agency owners find it tough to keep a big picture of how their business is running due to the constant demands of caregiver management, client service, billing and payroll. But without an organized, bird’s eye view of your business, it can be tough to know how things are really going. Meaning: you might be missing out on getting paid faster, passing audits with less stress and staying compliant more easily.
Getting and staying organized can feel like an overwhelming task. You’re likely inundated with paperwork from managing dozens or more caregivers and clients, tracking ADLs, progressing care plans, writing (and then rewriting) schedules, making payroll changes, etc.
Agency leaders can deal with this common challenge in home care – by consolidating their paperwork on one platform. Before using FirstVisit, many of our clients used 6+ different methods to manage their business, like Google Drive, Excel, a scheduling app, paper files, documents stored on local computers, a bookkeeping app, etc.
If you want to stay organized effortlessly, consider uniting your operations on one cloud-based home care software program – preferably with a robust reporting suite.
What are your agency’s most frustrating challenges?
Your agency is likely dealing with some or all of these common problems in home health care. And many that are entirely unique to your individual operations. Our team of home care experts at FirstVisit would love to learn more about your unique operations so we can support your team in doing their best – and most important – work.
Curious to discover how we can help? Book a 30-minute, no-commitment demo with us today.