Managing a geographically dispersed staff is challenging in any field, but for the home health industry, it poses a particular challenge that’s been exacerbated by COVID-19 and staff shortages: Since home health care professionals serve patients in a variety of settings, from patients’ homes to assisted living facilities, they rarely report to a single location.
So how can we effectively and efficiently manage our dispersed teams and ensure they stay motivated, compliant, and up-to-date on certifications?
Read on to learn about the challenges faced by home health care professionals, along with some tools and strategies for managing certifications, updates, and employee engagement with a dispersed staff.
Challenges for Home Health Care Professionals
The challenges of a geographically dispersed workforce aren’t new for home health care professionals, but these challenges have increased over the past few years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 2021 study published by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) found that the pandemic not only created new challenges for home health care professionals but also intensified long-standing industry problems of staffing shortages and overworked, undercompensated employees.
The risk of infection, along with a widespread lack of access to personal protective equipment, low wages, and lack of government direction made staff recruiting and retention more difficult than ever. This, in turn, placed an even greater burden on existing teams of home health care professionals to spread themselves thinner.
As a result, HR professionals in home health struggle to maintain an engaged, committed workforce. Now more than ever, home health care professionals need concrete solutions for keeping track of dispersed staff, ensuring those staff remain up-to-date on training, and minimizing employee turnover.
How to Manage Dispersed Health Care Staff
When managing teams of home health care professionals, it’s vital to ensure everyone remains current on certifications and adheres to the organization’s standards and values. But that can be difficult to coordinate when staff members rarely — if ever — report to the same location.
Here are some strategies and tools for effectively managing dispersed home health care teams.
Ensure Consistent, Centralized Communication
Home health care professionals may serve patients in their own homes, in assisted living facilities, or in state- or federal-sponsored programs. But even if the team never or rarely reports to the same location, it’s still possible — and necessary — to centralize communication.
Set and model expectations for clear, consistent communication among team members, and consolidate that communication as much as possible. Having fewer communication channels makes it less likely for important information to fall through the cracks.
Facilitate Remote Training
With a dispersed team, ensuring everyone stays current on certifications and compliant with best practices can be difficult. Home health care professionals likely don’t have time or concurring schedules to gather for in-person training, so it’s important to offer remote training options.
Of course, the challenge with remote training is keeping track of which employees have completed their training and when each certification needs to be renewed.
ProTrainings group CPR certification programs help you manage all of that and more. All programs are compliant with American Heart Association and OSHA guidelines, and automatic reminders and renewal notifications ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
Not only can remote training be used to keep workers current on certifications, but it can also be useful for upskilling to improve the services each team member is able to perform. This better equips them to offer the highest quality of care despite the diminished workforce.
Use Secure, Collaborative Technology
Even geographically dispersed teams with widely varying schedules need to be able to collaborate in real time. Using collaborative technology helps keep everyone on the same page — even if they rarely meet face to face.
Furthermore, this technology can be used to communicate with patients, as well, making it even easier to streamline communication channels and access vital information.
Prioritize Workers’ Mental Health & Feedback
For health care professionals, patient care is top priority. But for a team to function effectively, its members must also be taken care of — mentally and physically. This includes:
- Regularly checking in on workers’ mental health
- Providing resources for and access to mental health care
- Asking for workers’ feedback and concerns
- Listening and responding to those concerns
The better your team of health care professionals is taken care of, the better quality care they are able to offer to patients, and the less likely they are to burn out and quit.
Health Care Professionals Need Care, Too
Despite the challenges, effectively managing dispersed teams of home health care professionals is possible with the right tools, communication, and commitment to ensuring that your health care workers also receive the care and resources they need.
Looking for more ways to improve your staff’s services? Contact us today to learn how ProTrainings can help make getting your staff CPR-certified easier and more efficient.