While the rest of the country was dealing with unseasonably cold weather, attendees at the Winter conference of the Home Care Association of Florida (HCAF) enjoyed the pleasant temperatures of Boca Raton and interesting presentations.
Aptly named the “Winter Warmup,” this annual event gathers leaders from the senior care industry in the Sunshine State for a 2-day conference.
My friend Shelle Womble of corecubed and I presented on how to use sales and marketing techniques to grow the client base and the recruitment of caregivers (See us in the picture).
Sales and staff recruitment share many similarities. In an environment of intense competition for caregiver talent, using appropriate marketing techniques to the world of recruitment helps agencies stand out in the crowded employer space. If you want to learn more, make sure to register for our upcoming webinar on this subject.
I also attended many of the sessions on the private duty track. It’s a great way to state up-to-date about the senior care industry, hear from different industry experts and network with business owners and service providers.
Here are my highlights from this year’s HCAF conference:
Stephen Tweed was the keynote speaker and opened the conference with a master class on strategy for senior care businesses. He reminded the audience that this is a great time to be in senior care as the market for services is growing to become a “silver tsunami.” A solid strategic plan can be shaped around the 5 dimensions of a diamond:
- Purpose – Have a clear vision commonly shared throughout the agency
- People – Create a culture to attract and engage the employees who will serve the mission with excellence
- Process – Create systems for the critical tasks so they are executed consistently time and time again. Stephen identifies 5 processes critical to any agency: Client attraction and conversion, Staffing, Care delivery, and Collection.
- Promotion – Use corporate storytelling to attract client and differentiate your agency.
- Performance – Stephen likes data and knows that “what gets measured, gets managed.” He encourages home health agencies to keep a scorecard of their critical business measures.
Bob Roth is a mover and a shaker in senior care. He is both an agency owner and an activist for the senior care space. Bob talked about the evolutions happening now to support a “World Where Home is the Center of Care.” Technology is an important piece of the puzzle to support aging in place. Seniors have a greater acceptance of technology. Bob shared some of the exciting new technologies: Gibo the interactive robot, Waymo the self-driving car service in Arizona. Aging 2.0 is a movement spreading across the country with local chapters. It is geared towards tech and innovation. Check your local chapter.
The need for people to support aging at home will not decrease if only because the demand for care at home is exploding. As an agency owner, Bob has developed a retention program akin to multi-level marketing with financial incentives to refer family and friends as long as the referring employee works with the agency. The system also provides a cushion to weather the transition from one client to the next.
Caregivers will need to be empowered with technology to provide care and meet the growing demands for care.
Robert King, ESq. of Legally Nanny shared a legal update on the laws affecting hiring and employment in home care. He reminded the audience of a number of illegal questions when interviewing. Although sometimes when intentioned, inquiries about national origin, marital status or medical conditions are prohibited by the anti-discrimination status at the federal and even local levels.
When it comes to disability and medical conditions, employers need to focus on the applicants’ ability to perform the essential duties of the position. A physical test can be performed as part of the hiring process as long as it is required of all applicants. Of course, this testing and questioning imply having solid job descriptions. If you want to brush up on yours, check out one of my most popular blog on job descriptions.
Ban the Box legislations at the state and local levels push for updating of many job applications which inquire about “prior criminal convictions.” Those inquiries are best kept to the post-offer background check.
RN Delegation was a new topic which resonated with many attendees. Merryl Kloster shared her experience from Texas where Registered Nurses (RN) can delegate certain medial tasks to unlicensed caregivers for clients with stable and predictable conditions. Although this is a controversial subject, home health agencies across the country see the need for RN delegation as the number of medical acts gradually surpasses the capacity of RNs to perform them. Texas has created a framework to ensure safe delegation. With training and support, RN delegation might be one of the answers to meet the growing needs of seniors aging at home with complex medical conditions.
Lisa Meadows of the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) expertly exposed the value of accreditation for home care agencies. Although accreditation may not be required in your state, going through the process supports a culture of compliance in all aspects of the business from hiring of qualified staff to the delivery of care.
Her presentation picked my interest when she explained that one of the highest level of risk is with employees. Surprisingly compliance with staffing requirements is ignored by many agencies. When basic standards of employment compliance are not met, quality of care usually suffers. It is good business practice to submit to accreditation even if your state allows non-medical providers to “wing it.”
Bill Dombi, President of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHCH), gave the big picture legislative and regulatory update. There is a long list of legislative priorities reflecting the threats paused by proposed cuts to Medicare as well as the Medicaid and Medicaid reform. NAHCH is listing a workforce initiative which is sorely needed. Sadly, it has not moved much beyond the words and still is looking for a champion to turn it into action.