In the ever-changing home care industry, there are innumerable variables that agencies must strategically consider – as well as those that are hard to predict but still need to be managed carefully.
An aging demographic’s impact on the caregiving industry is certainly one variable that agencies must anticipate. As we’ve explored in previous articles, 15 percent of U.S. residents are over the age of 65, a figure expected to increase exponentially, with one in four Americans in the retirement zone by 2060. The implications on the demand for home care services are clear.
Variables tied to changing governments and legislation certainly fall into hard-to-predict camp, yet require innovative solutions to manage once passed into law. One example is the recent move by many states to boost minimum wage. A recent Home Health Care News article detailed how 18 states started the year with higher minimum wages than in 2018, with places like California and Washington D.C. set to hike wages to as high as $15 in the years to come.
While this is good news for caregivers who deserve adequate compensation, it is a challenge for agencies that may find their already-scarce market for qualified, reliable caregivers dwindling even further as people drift toward less challenging industries, such as retail and restaurant work. One only has to look at what’s already happening with Amazon to see where threats loom.
How home care agencies can stay competitive, efficient, appealing
The reality is clear: agencies must strategize to stay competitive, efficient and appealing not only to clients but to caregivers. And while there are many ways to “add value” to the caregiver profession – from creating peer mentorship roles to communication and conflict resolution – technology is a prime resource to help curb employee churn as well as preserve an agency’s reputation for high-quality care.
Caregivers with access to technology to make their jobs easier and more rewarding are more likely to be recruitable and retainable than those that lack such software.
Consider the benefits of home care software:
Optimized scheduling: With intuitive on-the-go apps, caregivers can easily view schedules, client data and more all in one place – putting scheduling control into the palm of their hands. No more calling the office for updates, wasting time between appointments, or dealing with surprise cancellations. GPS and route optimization also ensures they can easily get to their next client and, over time, save hours of driving. Consider that in a paper-based environment, home care workers can travel up to four hours to complete eight hours of actual care delivery. The right technology, we have learned, can reduce travel time up to 30 per cent.
No paper or timesheets: Well-designed software means caregivers never have to manually record any client information or drive to the office to clock in or out. GPS-based mobile care management systems streamline patient care, while electronic visit verification and record-keeping eliminates hours of tedious work such as completing timesheets.
Real-time information and communication: No more dealing with lost forms, incomplete information, or unknown situations. Technology presents everything a caregiver needs to know about each client, including medical information and notes on potential issues prior to an appointment. Real-time communication between caregivers and office staff also ensures accurate, fast data collection and reporting – transparency that helps build trust between a caregiver and their agency. ADLs and electronic charting are also simple and non-invasive.
In the end
Ultimately, a caregiver is less likely to leave their chosen profession for what is perceived as greener pastures in a similar-paying industry if they have the tools and information needed to deliver quality care, make a true difference in the lives of their clients, and improve their own personal time and well-being.
For a deeper dive into the benefits that technology can offer an agency’s staff and support recruiting and retaining skilled workers, see our article on attending to the caregiver experience.