I first met Steve “the Hurricane” Weiss in 2015 when we both attended the Virginia Personal Care provider conference. Over the years we have collaborated on many projects, most recently Momentum the online course that helps home care agencies recruit more caregivers and keep them employed longer. If you haven’t yet attended Momentum, check it out here.
Today, I want to bring Steve to speak on care coordination and field supervision in home care. Steve believes that many agencies wait too long to create a field supervisor position. Typically, home care agencies wait until they reach $4.5M in revenue before investing in care coordination. However, care coordination helps grow the business. Clients stay 40% longer with care coordination. Steve advises that agencies that reach $1.5M in annual revenue should seriously consider it. In other words, don’t delay. Be bold and invest in your field operations. It will pay back many folds!
Care Coordination With Care Supervisors
Care Supervisors are the agency’s eyes and ears in the field. They are the critical link between clients, their families, and your agency. They supervise caregivers sometimes in conjunction with the Nurse.
Care Supervisors get involved at the start of each case and every time a new caregiver comes into the home. Their role is to introduce the caregiver to the client. Together, they go over the care plan. The idea is to make sure everyone understands what is expected and how things work in each home.
Steve recommends that the coordinator visits several times a month to maintain the relationship between your agency, the client, and their family. This helps clients to stay on services longer and with more hours. Those visits are also a great time to develop a more personal relationship between caregiver and their supervisor. Those visits create an opportunity to provide hands-on training and support. Those are known to help with caregiver retention.
During each visit, the Supervisor conducts a house inspection to make sure the house stays clean and safe for the caregiver’s and the client’s benefit. “Typically, the Care Supervisor checks on supplies in the residence like gloves,” says Steve. “Another area of inspection is the fridge, making sure it is clean and no expired food is kept. It’s also wise to check on the type of food available to the client and make sure it is in line with the plan of care.” The inspection checklist should include checking for care equipment such as a transfer bench, wheelchair, walkers, and medication management oversight. This is especially important for patients with dementia. With a checklist in place, each visit can be documented.
Other activities of Care Supervisors can include taking clients to medical visits when family members are not available, and covering the case when a caregiver calls out.
“The ideal ratio is one Care Supervisor for every 30 to 35 caregivers depending on how much work each supervisor is doing for clients and with caregivers,” recommends Steve.
What’s the Profile of A Care Supervisor?
In some cases, it makes sense to promote a caregiver to the position of Care Supervisor. In most cases, Care Supervisors are recruited from the outside. A scheduler with previous home care experience or a caregiver who has risen through the ranks has a good skill set for this position.
In terms of pay, care coordinators typically earn a few dollars more than caregivers. “So, if you pay your caregivers $15/hour, it’s reasonable to think that care coordinators get about $18” recommends Steve.
How to Charge For Care Coordination
For one thing, many long-term care insurance policies have a stipend for care coordination in addition to the caregiving fee.
Care Coordination is an additional service that brings many benefits to the clients and can be billed. The cost can be dependent on the level of acuity of each patient. Clients with greater needs should be visited more frequently, maybe every week.
Some agencies charge a retainer for care coordination, which prepays for a number of care hours. When the hours are used, it’s time to re-up on the retainer. Another way to bill for the service is to charge a startup fee and include 5 to 7 hours of caregiving hours bundled with the fee. That way families feel there is an immediate value.